We Are Watching You – Employers ARE allowed to read your private messages

March 2, 2016

Posted by: Emma Bailey

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”  C. S. Lewis

The ruling comes after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said that a firm that had read a workers Yahoo Messenger conversations while he was at work was perfectly within its rights to do so.

While the UK courts are not bound by the rulings of the ECHR, Judges do, under UK human rights laws take their rulings into account.

The UK law is clear on its position when it comes to these types of cases. If your employer has stated in your contract that you are NOT to use company equipment for personal use and you do, you are in breach of your contract and could be subject to disciplinary action.

Under UK law employers have the right to check on their employees’ communications but it must be proportionate. They cannot log into and read your Facebook messages as that is a breach of your privacy, nor can they request that you give up your password so they can login to your account. They can as it is in the public domain, see what you have posted on your social media accounts and if relevant use them as evidence against you in a disciplinary case.

So … If you were hoping to catch up with friends on Skype at lunchtime to arrange a Friday night curry, perhaps you should dig out your Employment Contract and check their IT policies instead.

For more information around this subject click here

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