Q&As

In light of Barbulescu v. Romania [2016] IRLR 235, how does this impact the head office of the employer and IT employees (both based outside of the EU) accessing employee's (based in the UK) personal emails?

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Produced in partnership with Ashley Roughton of Ipchambers.eu
Published on LexisPSL on 29/04/2016

The following Information Law Q&A produced in partnership with Ashley Roughton of Ipchambers.eu provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • In light of Barbulescu v. Romania [2016] IRLR 235, how does this impact the head office of the employer and IT employees (both based outside of the EU) accessing employee's (based in the UK) personal emails?

On the facts of this case the rule put forward by the court, in explaining art 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (right to privacy), is that if a person used his employer’s business messaging service for personal use and it is a condition brought home to the employee beforehand, that the service can only used for business use then the employer may rely upon that fact (that the employee has misused the business messaging service for personal reasons) for disciplinary purposes against the employee. However, it is not clear to what extent (if any) the content of the messages may be relied upon and neither is it clear whether the right on the part of the employer to use the messages concerned as evidence extends to proving any other fact in (say) a non-disciplinary case; on the face of it and in the absence of seeking to uncover crime, it would seem not.

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