Thursday, 7 April 2016

Employers spying on employees’ emails – right or wrong?

In a recent news article, it was stated that employers have been given the right to read employees’ emails and other electronic communications. An important question that arises is: can an employer legally monitor your emails at work? What do the expert solicitors have to say? According to Curry Popeck,London solicitors, even if your employer intends to monitor your e-mails or internet use, it is their duty to inform you of this. This could be via your employment contract or employee handbook, and it should also be made clear the extent and type of private use that is allowed. If the matters are taken to court, the court takes into account all these factors, as happened in the case described below.

In the case in question, a Romanian employee was asked by his employer to create a Yahoo Messenger account, so that he could respond to enquiries from clients. An important point to be noted here is that the company had clearly written a rule that prevented employees from using company equipment for personal purposes.

The employer, on monitoring the employee’s communications found that he had been using it for personal reasons. However, the employee denied it. So a printout was produced by the employer as proof and the employee was eventually dismissed.

The employee claimed that his dismissal was unfair as his right to privacy had been breached by his employer. On carefully examining the facts and employment terms and conditions, it was found by the Romanian court that the employer was entitled to monitor the employee’s use of work computers to make sure that they were being used only for professional reasons.

The employee appealed unsuccessfully and so he brought his claim to the European Court of Human Rights. He pointed to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, according to which everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and correspondence.

The Court said the breach was out of the question. Romanian employment law struck a fair balance between the employee’s right to privacy and the interests of the employer.

It further said that it is not unreasonable for an employer to ensure that the employees are completing their professional tasks during working hours. So, the case was dismissed.

According to the employment law experts at Curry Popeck,law firm in Harrow, an employer’s right to monitor an employee’s emails is governed by the Data Protection Act 1998, according to which if an employer monitors the use of e-mail of his employees and collects their personal data, then he/she must tell the employees how he intends to use the information and then use it for that purpose only. 

If you think that your employer has illegally monitored your e-mails or if you are dealing with any issue pertaining to employment, contact Curry Popeck, one of the leadingHarrow law firms. With the extensive knowledge and experience of their employment experts, you can rest assured that the recommended course of action will help you achieve the best outcome for your case.

To know more about your rights as an employee or to schedule an appointment with them, visit-

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