Romania: Human rights court backs monitoring of employee’s internet use

Human rights judges say a Romanian company’s decision to monitor an employee’s use of the Internet and his resulting dismissal were justified.

In its 12 January judgment in the case of Bărbulescu v. Romania (application no. 61496/08) the European Court of Human Rights held, by six votes to one, that there had been:

no violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life, the home and correspondence) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned Bogdan Mihai Bărbulescu’s dismissal by his employer, a private company, for having used the company’s Internet for personal purposes during working hours in breach of internal regulations.

The court found, in particular, that Bărbulescu’s private life and correspondence had been engaged.

However his employer’s monitoring of his communications had been reasonable in the context of disciplinary proceedings.

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