Employee privacy and monitoring

September 13, 2017
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held in Bărbulescu v Romania (Application no. 61496/08) last week that there was a breach of the right to privacy where an employer searched the contents of an employee's instant messaging account, which demonstrated that he was sending personal messages during working hours, and dismissed him as a result. This reversed the previous decision of the Chamber of the ECtHR which attracted some rather sensationalist (and inaccurate) headlines in May 2016. However, this decision does not materially affect the current legal position in the United Kingdom and it is certainly not the case that employees have an absolute right to privacy in the workplace - as we explain in more detail in this OnPoint.

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