Snooping through employee emails

To snoop or not snoop? that is the question.

We are only two weeks into the year and Employment Law has already dominated the headlines. This week the media has made much of the European courts ruling on the case where a company had used an employees personal messages on the company messenger system as the basis of a dismissal.

Many sources claimed this case meant that employers now had the right to snoop through employees personal emails and somehow this was a new and shocking discovery.

The reality of this is somewhat different and less exciting. Yes the United Kingdom is a European Member state and European Laws do affect us but we also have domestic laws and common sense to contend with.

The Data Protection Act is still very present and effective. Employers do not have the right to go through employees personal devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops looking for incriminating emails.

It is important for both employers and employees to be clear on what is and is not acceptable in the workplace. The best working environments are built on trust between employer and employee. Of course, as employer you want your employee to be working during working hours but you may also want to have a degree of flexibility.

A good way to protect you and your employees is to have clear policies on social media, computer data and company email usage. With the right policies in place an employer can use personal communication for disciplinary purposes.

Why not review and update your policies to include social media and computer use?

If you need advice contact Jemma at Orchard Employment Law:

Telephone: 01634 564136


follow on Twitter @ jemmafairhay