Private Messages at Work may be Read by Employers
20 January 2016
Barbulescu v Romania
In a case before the European Court of Human Rights, it has been determined that an employee’s rights were not breached when his employer accessed private messages which had been sent from his Yahoo Messenger account. The employee, Mr Barbulescu, claimed that the actions of his employer were contrary to his “right to respect for his private life and correspondence”.
In balancing the rights of Mr Barbulescu against those of his employer, the court found that the actions of the employer had been “reasonable” given the circumstances. It transpired that the Yahoo account was set up exclusively for business use and the employer had a policy in place which strictly prohibited the use of its IT systems for personal use.
The employee initially claimed that he had not used the account to send personal messages. During the case it was highlighted that it seemed perverse for him to “claim an ‘expectation of privacy’ while at the same time denying any private use”. It is this point that is especially pertinent. Had the account been set up for personal use as well as business use, it is highly possible that a different decision may have been made. By being clear with the wording of their policy, and leaving no ambiguity about what the account was intended for, the employer had acted in an entirely reasonable manner by accessing the account.
At Alpha, we have a vast experience in drafting a range of employment documentation, including any bespoke policies you may require. We also provide unlimited support to members of our Alpha scheme, including how to respond to any legislative changes. If you would like to have Alpha on your side, please feel free to contact us.
Martin Kaye have provided advice in some highly complex HR matters and they continue to provide our day to day HR advice through their "ALPHA" HR scheme. They offer a very commercial and pragmatic approach and we have always been impressed by the level of service. The members of staff are approachable and easy to deal with.
Eurofilms Extrusion Ltd
Martin Kaye have provided us with employment and HR advice for several years and we have been very pleased with the level of service and quality of advice provided. We have no hesitation in recommending the team to any organisation which wishes to manage its employment related enquiries.
D Wauchope, Company Secretary
McPhillips (Wellington) Ltd
As a large employer of cleaning personnel, we require expert and prompt employment related advice. Martin Kaye's "ALPHA" service provides this in a clear and robust manner. We have been extremely impressed with the service and would thoroughly recommend them to any employer requiring expert HR & employment support.
J Conry, Chairman
It is important for us to create a close relationship with our advisors. Martin Kaye's "ALPHA" HR service is excellent. It enables us to work closely with our lawyers particularly in the complex area of employment law.
Johnny Hobeika, Operations Manager
Sanita (UK) Ltd
Martin Kaye are rated
out of 5
based on 20 testimonials.