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Employees should not be subject to “Stasi-style” surveillance – IoD

15 Jan 2016

The Institute of Directors has said that employers should not routinely snoop on their employees communications at work, after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a company in Romania did not breach the privacy rights of an employee by monitoring their personal online communications.

Simon Walker, Director General at the Institute of Directors:

“Employees should not be subject to Stasi-style surveillance at work. We would strongly urge businesses not to read an employee’s personal messages apart from in the most exceptional circumstances.

“This decision seems to come from a lost era when everybody punched in to work at 9 and out again at 5. The lines between home life and work have blurred over the years, and people now expect to be more flexible with when they answers emails or work from home. Employers have also become more flexible, allowing people to check personal emails or use social media, because they recognise that if employees feel trusted, it will have positive knock-on effects for the business.

“The circumstances would have to be very severe indeed to justify an intrusion like this into the private life of a member of staff.”

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