EU Employers Cannot Monitor Employees’ Personal Email Sent on Company Servers
The European Union is way ahead of the United States when it comes to protecting employees online privacy rights. An upcoming eprivacy regulation will limit employers’ ability to employee electronic communications. The European High Court of Human Rights has recently concluded that an employee does not have the right to review during the course of an internal investigation an employee’s personal emails sent using the company server.
In a case involving a Romanian employee whose email messages were monitored by his employer without his knowledge or consent, the court concluded that the European Convention on Human Rights’ privacy prohibits monitoring, even when the employee sends such emails on the company server during working hours.
Sadly, the U.S. jurisdiction does not limit the employers’ ability to monitor email messages of an employee. U.S. employers with European operations will need to consult with local legal counsel to determine that their policies meet the evolving standards set by the European Union.