Restrictions in the Workplace
The Labour Code prescribes that the employer must provide employees with the work tools necessary for the performance of their duties. The Labour Code further establishes that the employee cannot use the work tools for anything other than their intended use. The employer has the right to ensure that the employee uses the work tools provided by the employer, following the intended work purpose, and to prohibit the employee’s access to social media.
Regarding employees’ personal devices, employers can restrict the use of the Internet or social media by employees during working hours. The employer can instruct them that it can only be used for work purposes, but that restriction has to be in writing and preferably included in the employment contract.
Can the employer monitor, access, review the employee’s electronic communications?
In the Dominican Republic, employers may monitor and inspect only the electronic communications in the place of work, if the employee is notified in advance that the electronic communications will be for employment purposes. So, the employee should not have expectations of privacy.
Employers are also allowed to install voice or image recording devices whenever necessary for the company to meet its business needs. Installing such devices in bathrooms or changing rooms is prohibited.
Employers are authorised to control computers, telephones, and any other instrument that they provide to employees. Such control does not violate privacy and the legal rights that each person has.
Information obtained through monitoring and surveillance cannot be shared and exported to related companies in other countries, unless the employee has previously given their consent in writing.
Employees have a duty of loyalty to the employer, which means that employees must refrain from taking actions that may damage the company’s reputation, other employees, or the company in general. The opposite may be grounds for dismissal with cause. Employers may, at their sole discretion, stipulate their requirements for employment. One of those requirements could be the signing of a confidentiality agreement in addition to the employment agreement.
The confidentiality agreement could include an obligation not to use, disclose, publish or otherwise divulge the employer’s trade secrets or confidential information to its past, present or future (potential) clients.