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Case update (1): Human rights and monitoring at work

What do we already know?

We updated you in our January 2016 Newsletter Human rights and monitoring at work on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision in Bărbulescu v Romania that an employee’s right to respect for private and family life was not breached if their employer monitored their personal communications at work as long as it was carried out in a reasonable and proportional manner.

The employee, Mr Bărbulescu, appealed against the decision to the Grand Chamber of the ECHR.

What’s new?

The Grand Chamber of the ECHR has reversed the lower level ECHR’s decision that monitoring an employee’s personal communications at work was not in breach of the employee’s right to respect for private and family life.  Its decision is available here.

Although the Grand Chamber did not find that all monitoring was in breach of an employee’s rights, it did decide that employers may only monitor communications in very limited circumstances and that, if they are considering doing so, they should take into account the following:


This is a useful decision (although not the most helpful for employers!) as it sets out clear guidelines on what employers need to consider when monitoring employees’ communications and we recommend the following:

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