Can your employer monitor your private communications?

18 September 2017

In the workplace, we use many forms of technology to communicate and the issue of privacy has been at the centre of discussions for many years. Technology in the past two decades has advanced considerably and sending emails is now the predominant source of communication in developed countries. Employees may argue that it is unfair for employers to intrude on their privacy by monitoring emails sent at work but of course an employer may argue that an employee should not be sending private communications during working hours anyway.

In the case of Barbulescu v Romania (2016), an employer was dismissed for sending private messages to family members whilst at work and the court held that it was not against the employee's right to privacy for an employer to monitor employee's private communications. However, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has now reversed this decision, meaning that employers must take into consideration the employee's right to privacy when monitoring telecommunications within their company.

Our Employment Team will be happy to assist you with any aspect of employment law issues. Please contact Head of Department, Alexandra Dean, on 01245 228141 or via

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.