icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Employers have right to snoop on workers' private online messages, Euro court rules

Employers have right to snoop on workers' private online messages, Euro court rules
Employers have the right to monitor their workers' online private messages, according to a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). It comes after a Romanian man was fired for sending personal messages while at work.

The Strasbourg court sided on Tuesday with the employer of a Romanian engineer who was dismissed from his job after using Yahoo Messenger to communicate with his fiancée and brother while at work.

Dismissing the employee's claim that his company had violated his right to privacy by monitoring his messages, the judge said that it was “not unreasonable that an employer would want to verify that employees were completing their professional tasks during working hours.”

During his time as an engineer, Bogdan Mihai Barbulescu was asked by his employer to create a Yahoo Messenger account to answer his clients' queries. However, he was informed in July 2007 that his chats had been monitored over several days, with his employer stating that he had breached company rules by using the program for personal reasons.

Barbulescu took his case against Romania to the human rights court in 2008, alleging that his employer's decision to end his contract was based on a violation of his right to confidential correspondence.

However, the court ruled that “the employer's monitoring was limited in scope and proportionate,” and that Barbulescu had not “convincingly explained why he had used the Yahoo Messenger account for personal purposes.”

The judge also defended a decision by Romania to allow transcripts of the engineer's communications to be used against him in court, saying it “proved that he had used the company's computer for his own private purposes during working hours.”

Judgements by the European Court of Human Rights are binding on countries that have ratified the European Convention on Human Rights.

Dear readers and commenters,

We have implemented a new engine for our comment section. We hope the transition goes smoothly for all of you. Unfortunately, the comments made before the change have been lost due to a technical problem. We are working on restoring them, and hoping to see you fill up the comment section with new ones. You should still be able to log in to comment using your social-media profiles, but if you signed up under an RT profile before, you are invited to create a new profile with the new commenting system.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and looking forward to your future comments,

RT Team.