February 12, 2016

Monitoring Employee Communications: Recent Ruling No Green Light to Spy on Staff

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) recently ruled that an employer's monitoring of an employee's communications--which led to the employee's termination--did not violate human rights law. In an article published in Personnel Today, Faegre Baker Daniels partner Huw Beverley-Smith and associate Emma Vennesson evaluated the decision and argued that media reports covering the ruling "have overstated employers' rights to monitor their employees' private communications." They also provided guidance to help U.K.-based companies build policies on employee monitoring and personal use of company devices.

"The overriding guidance to deal with such cases is that employers should have in place clear and detailed policies," the article said. "These will be scrutinized by courts and tribunals, and will often be one of the determining factors in employment proceedings. Critically, the policies should set out the reasons for, and parameters of, the employer's monitoring of IT systems and devices used in the workplace. This will help to establish that such monitoring is proportionate." 

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