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In the case of Barbulescu v Romania the European Court of Justice (ECHR) decided that a Romanian employer acted lawfully when it monitored an employee’s Yahoo Messenger account.
That decision was made in 2016 but since then there has been an appeal from the Chamber of the ECHR and the Grand Chamber has come down in favour of the right to privacy and reversed the decision.
The Judgement is a very complicated one but the main point is that workers do have a right to respect for privacy in the workplace and if an employer is going to monitor their emails and messages, the employer should (except in exceptional circumstances) tell the worker their communications might be monitored. Here, although the employee knew it was forbidden to use work computers for personal purposes, he hadn’t been told that the employer was actually monitoring his communications.
In future, therefore, in order to avoid claims for compensation, it will be very important for employers to review their policies and procedures to ensure that workers are aware that their communications may be monitored.
Motor Industry Legal Services
Motor Industry Legal Services (MILS Solicitors) provides fully comprehensive legal advice and representation to UK motor retailers for one annual fee. It is the only law firm in the UK which specialises in motor law and motor trade law. MILS currently advises over 1,000 individual businesses within the sector as well as the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) and its members.