magnify
Home Articles posted by Claire Jervis

Barbulescu v Romania: Why There is no Room for Complacency When it Comes to Privacy Rights in the Workplace

Published on September 26, 2017        Author: 

Warning: rtrim() expects parameter 1 to be string, object given in /home/markom52/public_html/ejiltalk.org/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 2410
Twitter
Facebook
Google+
LinkedIn
Follow by Email

For some privacy advocates, the decision earlier this month of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Barbulescu v Romania was another milestone in the pursuit of greater protection for employee privacy. Reversing a decision of the Fourth Section last year, the Court held that the monitoring of an employee’s Yahoo Messenger account breached his right to respect for private life in Article 8. While it would be churlish to contradict such claims, this is no time for complacency.

Mr. Barbulescu was a sales engineer working for a private company in Romania. The company in question prohibited the use of its equipment (including the internet) for personal use – a policy it robustly enforced with dismissals for transgressors – facts which Mr. Barbulescu was made aware of. At his employer’s request, Mr. Barbulescu opened a Yahoo Messenger Account in order to communicate with customers. He was subsequently told that this account had been monitored, revealing that it had been used for personal purposes. When Mr. Barbulescu denied this claim, he was presented with a transcript of the content of his messages. These included exchanges with his brother and his fiancé, some of which were of an intimate nature. Mr. Barbulescu was fired. He challenged his dismissal in the domestic courts alleging that it breached his right to private life. Those claims were dismissed and Mr. Barbulescu brought his case to Strasbourg. Read the rest of this entry…

 
Comments Off on Barbulescu v Romania: Why There is no Room for Complacency When it Comes to Privacy Rights in the Workplace