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Employer can’t spy on private emails of staff: Europe court

Employer can’t spy on private emails of staff: Europe court

Strasbourg, France: To maintain the privacy at work, employers have been restricted to check the private and intimate emails of their employees. Europe’s top rights court on Tuesday decided in a landmark ruling with wide consequences for privacy in the workplace.

According to a report by DC, the highest body of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in favour of Bogdan Mihai Barbulescu, who claimed his rights had been violated when he was dismissed for sending private chat messages in the office.

The 38-year-old Romanian fought a legal battle for 10 years through Romanian and European courts, claiming his privacy had been violated when his employer accessed intimate exchanges with his fiancee and brother.

Last year, the ECHR had ruled that snooping was allowed because employers were justified in wanting to verify “that employees were completing their tasks during working hours.” But in a review, the 17 most senior judges found on Tuesday that Romanian courts “had not adequately protected Mr Barbulescu’s right to respect for his private life and correspondence.”

The judges found that “an employer’s instructions could not reduce private social life in the workplace to zero”, which signifies that some use of the internet at work for personal reasons was justified. The new rule will become law in 47 countries that have ratified the European Convention on Human Rights.