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Bosses must adhere to staff privacy at work

European companies must adhere to staff privacy at work, as the European Court of Human Rights has decreed.

The lower chamber of the court reconsiders the case of 2016, when it found no interference in privacy of the workplace communication surveillance. It was the first time for considering issue connecting with the electronic communication surveillance at a private company.

In August 2007, the employer fired Bogdan Mihai Bărbulescu from Bucharest, Romania, for use of Yahoo Messenger for his personal purposes. The account was created by his employer`s demand, and court documents don`t contain this information.

Bărbulescu stated in a Romanian court that his privacy right had been contravened according to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Actually, he wasn`t informed about the correspondence monitoring.

Article 8, “Right to respect for private and family life” states that “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence”, unless otherwise provided by law, for social, national and economic necessities, and following other rights.

In December 2017, the Bucharest County issued decree that employers have the right to keep an eye on internal rules for Internet usage.

In 2008, Bărbulescu appealed the case and lost again. Then he appealed to the European Convention on Human Rights the same year.

In 2016, the Chamber of the ECHR also ruled against him.

Finally, the court`s Grand Chamber, the supreme body on human rights rules among the 47 Council of Europe members states, helped him to win an action.

The ECHR indicated that Romanian courts didn`t consider unadequate notification of the employee about correspondence monitoring. Moreover, there was no notification at all. Besides, the worker`s duties could have been performed with less interfering.

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