(credit: Phil Whitehouse)

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that companies are allowed to monitor employees’ Internet activities, including online chats, provided they have been warned beforehand that the private use of company resources is forbidden. Because this decision has been handed down by the ECHR, the highest human rights court in Europe, the ruling can affect almost every state in Europe (everywhere except Belarus and Kosovo).
This is the result of a case brought by a Romanian engineer, Bogdan Bărbulescu, who was fired for using a company’s Yahoo Messenger account to chat with his fiancée and brother.
Bărbulescu had brought his case to the ECHR because he claimed that his dismissal was unfair, alleging “his employer’s decision to terminate his contract had been based on a breach of his right to respect for his private life and correspondence and that the domestic [Romanian] courts had failed to protect his right.”
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