EU Em­ploy­ers Can­not Mon­i­tor Em­ploy­ees’ Per­sonal Email Sent on Com­pany Servers

The HR Digest - - Drift -

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.

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