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Employers can now check out your personal messages

Employee Personal Messages Monitored

Oh yes. Cue scary music. It’s now legal for your boss to monitor your private messaging apps and other private messaging services. But only if they’re set up as business or work accounts and you’re using them for personal use. Which kinda makes sense.

At the moment in the UK employers have to clearly inform you that they will monitor work accounts. Before they do.

The European Court of Human Rights dismissed Romanian employee Bogdan Mihai Barbulescue, who was fired for using a Yahoo Messaging account, set up for clients, to contact his fiancée and brother, claims that his right to privacy had been breached.

The Strasbourg court sided with his employer that it was ‘not unreasonable that an employer would want to verify that employees were completing their professional tasks during working hours.’

Lawyer Michael Burd, of London firm Lewis Silken commented that the landmark aspect of this case was that the employer was allowed to use the personal content – 45 pages of it (cringe), in court where previously an employer brought to court for unfair dismissal would only have had the fact their employee was using a work app for personal messaging in work time submitted as evidence.

While ‘Nat’ comments ‘Monitoring what was believed to be private messages between a person and their lover over a period of several days is very creepy indeed’ true but nonetheless.. ‘Steve’ replies championing employers, ‘Monitoring whether your employee is actually working for you rather than indulging in private activities at your expense is not creepy at all’

While employers everywhere may embrace this ruling, employees need to take note. This is binding for all countries in the EU including the UK. If employers don’t already have rules against using work devices and accounts for personal use in their contract of employment, they will now.

In a lighter vein commentator ‘Nebs’ contemplates on work life in the digital age ‘It is a sad day for this country that employees can no longer spend their working day chatting on facebook or playing space invaders’. Sad indeed.

‘Portugeezer’ sums it up, ‘Dont use a business account for personal stuff. Not difficult is it?’

And lastly some sound advice from ’Stormin’, ‘We all muck about…professionals me included…but muck about anonymously’.

If you’d like more practical tips on how to protect and manage your Online Reputation then grab a copy of my book. Click on the button below to order your copy of my book.


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Wayne Denner shares his knowledge & expertise on leading tech industry blog.

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