- Accessing employees' personal messages at work might not breach Article 8 (News, 15 January 2016)
- Impact of this judgment
- Background law
- The facts and decisions of the Romanian courts
- The decision of the ECtHR
If an employer accesses an employee’s personal messages on a work computer, and uses those messages to justify the dismissal of that employee for breach of the employer’s rules on computer usage, then the employee’s right to respect for a private life, family and correspondence under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights is engaged. However, there is no violation of Article 8 if the employer’s actions are limited in scope (eg the access is to verify whether the computer is being used solely for work purposes in accordance with the employer’s policy) and proportionate, and the domestic courts considering the issue strike a fair balance, within their margin of appreciation, between the employee’s right and the employer’s interests. ECtHR: Bărbulescu v Romania.
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