The right to read employee emails at work

Employers can now read employees’ private emails sent during working hours.

The ruling was passed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), who allowed a firm in Romania to read a worker’s email chat sent while he was at work. As the ECHR decisions binds the majority or European countries, this means Britain will have to take the ruling seriously.

Checking an employee’s private communications can prove complicated and disruptive, and there seems no easy way to do this. Does an employer use covert surveillance methods and take a blunt approach when it comes to asserting their right to check employee communications. Both will prove equally disruptive and indicate a deeper mistrust operating in the business.

A quick solution to this is the banning of private email use at work, ensuring that the policy is clearly written in the employee handbook.

For more advice on employee surveillance, or if you are concerned about an employee misusing email at work, we suggest reading our article on Employee Surveillance at work which touches on the ethics of surveillance and appropriate steps employers can take. Alternatively get in touch for a free consultation.

Coverage includes:

  • Advice on managing social media at work
  • Forecasts on the rise of automation in the workplace
  • Recruitment insights from Chris Marsh on building a creative tech company