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Online Privacy in the Office

Do you think that your privacy is protected at the office? Think again. A recent ruling of Europe’s human rights court found that companies are within their rights to monitor the private online activities of their employees when they are in the office.

Katie Ash, head of Employment Law at Banner Jones Solicitors, said “This ruling becomes more important as the pervasive nature of personal technology increasingly blurs the distinction of what is the “office” and what is “home”.

While we no longer live in the days when Henry Ford could freely inspect his employees' homes, technological advances are quickly erasing the idea of employee privacy at work.
The recent court ruling has established that employees in Europe who use online chat and messaging services through company networks cannot claim that their employer is interfering with their private life if they access their conversations.

In the case in question before the courts, the employee lost his job because he violated a company rule that he could not use social media when at work.

Whilst not part of the European rulings, yet, it is worth bearing in mind that if you use your company computer it is technically easy for your employer to access your Facebook, Twitter and other social accounts, even if you restrict public viewing.  Also, if you charge your phone on your work computer your employer can (technically) browse all the files contained on it.

For more information regarding any employment issues, or to arrange an appointment with our expert Employment Law solicitors, call 0330 017 6306*, or email

*calls cost no more than a local 01 number and are included in your mobile minutes.

Katie Ash
  • Director
  • Solicitor
  • Head of Employment Law

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