Your boss can read your messages, says court

14 January 2016

boss office Have you been sending messages to your mates while at work, using the office computer? Have you been chatting someone up while on company time? Well, you might want to hold back on what you say, because thanks to a court, your boss now has the right to have a look at your private messages.

Europe’s court of human rights (ECHR) ruled that your employers can check your private messages, after a case that looked at the situation involving an engineer who got the sack for using Yahoo Messenger to chat with his family (as well as professional clients, of course).

The ECHR heard, but dismissed the engineer’s argument that his right to private correspondence was violated, siding with his bosses.

Basically, if your work are telling you that they might be checking your messages - even in small print - then as long as they've let you know, they're legally allowed to do it. Of course, you'd have to be using the company's equipment for this to work - they can't go through your personal phone.

They can also film you with CCTV, but only if they're obviously using it - secret cameras aren't allowed.

The court said it was not "unreasonable that an employer would want to verify that employees were completing their professional tasks during working hours."

This won't be news to some people, but if it is, don't go slagging your job and your employers off in private messages, and certainly don't send nudes to anyone on the company computer, unless you don't mind your team leader seeing it, and you don't mind getting sacked. Best to operate on a Worst Case Scenario in this instance.

TOPICS:   Privacy   Economy


  • Edward L.
    He should have been sacked for using Yahoo Messenger. Instant dismissal. It's 2016.
  • James D.
    This isnt what the court ruling said at all, it said they were allowed to monitor him to see if he was using yahoo messenger it didn't make any such determination about whether they were allowed to read/store the contents of his messages as far as I can see.

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