Restrictions in the Workplace
Employers can set out the general conditions of use and restrict access to the Internet in the workplace, but they have to be cautious, as all employees have a right to privacy, even at the workplace during working time. For example, the employer may access the employees’ professional emails under very restrictive conditions. Besides, employees benefit from the freedom of speech principle, within the company and outside of it, which can only be restricted for legitimate grounds.
Can the employer monitor, access, review the employee’s electronic communications?
No specific French employment law provisions currently address issues raised by employees’ social media use.
Article L.2323-47 provides that the company’s Works Council, if any, must be informed and consulted prior to the implementation of any means aimed at monitoring or controlling the employees’ activities.
Employers may limit the use of social networks by requiring that employees do not disclose confidential information or trade secrets by implementing an obligation of confidentiality or codes of conduct.
Concerning denigration, the issue regarding whether comments made on Facebook are public or private was considered by the French Supreme Court (Cass. civ. 1, 10 April 2013). From this case law, a comment on a social media may be considered private or public depending on the privacy settings of the relevant account. The more accessible a comment is, the more likely it will be deemed public and punishable, as the case may be.