For many of people in jobs – love them or hate them – a little bit of light social media play is common practice.
We’ve all been there. Boss out of sight, and while you know you’ve been putting off a task, you also know it could maybe wait for two minutes while you and your BFF discuss to OMFG moments from Celebrity Big Brother last night. No one will ever know.
But now, that’s all set to change in a BIG way. Workers were warned yesterday, by the European Court of Human Rights that their employers can now legally snoop on private Facebook, WhatsApp and email messages. Seriously.
Why exactly? The shocking ruling was put in place following a particular case of a Romanian engineer who was fired in 2007 after sending messages to his fiancee and brother during work hours using Yahoo Messenger on a company-owned device.
Although this was denied by the employee, judges outlined that it was not “unreasonable that an employer would want to verify that employees were completing their professional tasks during working hours”.
In the end judges sided with his boss – deciding that the worker had been professionally negligent and bosses should be able to check during work hours what their employees are doing. They said:
“The employer acted within its disciplinary powers since, as the domestic courts found, it had accessed the Yahoo Messenger account on the assumption that the information in question had been related to professional activities and that such access had therefore been legitimate.”
Okay, so before you start getting serious work paranoia bosses can’t actually monitor your personal phone throughout the working day. BUT they can legally check anything that’s written on a work device – so if you’re using WhatsApp on a work phone, sending private messages on Facebook and email.
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Eek. We might be limiting are gossip and Asos updates until lunch. You know, just in case…
By Emma Firth