Peterborough solicitor warns of dangers of bosses reading workers’ personal messages

Maz Dannourah.
Maz Dannourah.
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A urgent warning has gone out to Peterborough companies to ensure their HR polices are watertight following a landmark decision in the European courts.

The alarm has been sounded in the wake of a decision by the European Court of Human Right that employers can legally read workers’ private online messages.

Even if they do have such policies in place, they should check they are watertight.

Maz Dannourah, associate at Roythornes.

But firms are being warned the decision does not allow employers to automatically monitor staff communications.

Maz Dannourah, an associate who specialises in employment law at Roythornes, said “The company in this case was protected because it had policies in place that governed the monitoring of staff communications and the use of equipment.

“If companies do not have such policies in place they should talk to an employment expert urgently and, even if they do have such policies in place, they should check they are watertight.

“As this ruling has been established via legal precedent it comes into effect immediately so there is no time to waste.”

The court decision came after an employee took action because he believed his right to confidential correspondence had been breached when his employers presented him with a 45 page transcript of his messages, some of which were personal and to relatives.

The court ruled that employers had the right to check that employees were completing their work and therefore the right to monitor such messaging. The court also ruled its decision did not give employers the power for unregulated monitoring.

of private messages and that a set of policies should be drawn up stating what communications can be accessed and for what reasons.