Private Messages at Work can be Read by Employers

Employment Law Newsflash: In Bărbulescu v Romania, the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”) has held that there was no violation of an employee’s right under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in circumstances where an employee had been dismissed for using the company’s Internet for personal purposes during working hours.

Article 8 is the right to respect for private and family life, the home and correspondence.

While the employee’s Article 8 right had been engaged the ECHR held that, the employer’s monitoring of his communications pursuant to workplace rules and regulations had been reasonable in the context of disciplinary proceedings, and the Romanian courts had acted appropriately in balancing the employee’s rights against the interests of his employer.

Carmel says, this case is important in making it clear when it is reasonable to monitor an employee’s use of the company’s Internet during working hours. It particularly underlines the importance of having up to date workplace rules and regulations in the form of policies and procedures in an employee handbook and ensuring that employees are aware of the consequences of failing to adhere to them.

Carmel provides a health-check service of a company’s employment contracts, policies and procedures. The health-check includes a review of all your existing documentation and a written report setting out observations and comments for improvements to your documentation to bring it into line with current legislation and to optimise flexibility to your business. If you are interested in this service please email Carmel on

Carmel offers a range of packages for bringing your company’s employment documentation up to date, including:

  • drafting bespoke contracts of employment and service agreements;
  • drafting a complete employee handbook containing up to date policies and procedures tailored to the needs of your business;
  • in-house training of staff in the company’s policies and procedures; and
  • in-house training for managers: “Essential employment law for business managers”

Need to know more?

If you have any queries about this or any other matter regarding employment law, please do not hesitate to contact Carmel Sunley.