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ECHR Ruling Forces Employers to Review Monitoring Policies

September 11, 2017

Fenwick privacy and cybersecurity practice co-chair Jim Koenig spoke to Law360 about the European Court of Human Rights' finding that a Romanian company violated an employee's privacy by monitoring his private Yahoo! Messenger messages.

The finding reminds employers across the European Union to have a good reason for surveillance of their employees, and that employees also need to be aware of what is happening.

Koenig noted that U.S. employers are typically given more latitude when it comes to employee monitoring and can track what employees are doing as long as they are generally aware of it. But he told Law360 that companies with operations outside the U.S. need to carefully pay attention to this ruling and ensure that their global policies align with the emerging standard for employee monitoring in the EU.

Companies that manage global programs need to rethink their stances on notice, and how and when their employee data is used for new analytics-based uses related to safety, security and other purposes,” Koenig said. Companies typically underdisclose for human resources privacy, as compared to commercial privacy, but now they need a global approach that requires them to create new consent mechanisms for recruiting and onboarding.”

The full article is available through the Law360 website (subscription required).​ ​​