Restrictions in the Workplace
On objective grounds and with the use of clear internal procedures, the employer can restrict the employee’s use of Internet and social media during working hours. This restriction applies to the use of the Internet and social media on company provided platforms, including portable devices.
Can the employer monitor, access, review the employee’s electronic communications?
A relevant national case that was brought to the attention of the European Court for Human Rights, confirmed that in the case where the employer has strict, clear and objective rules on the use of the Internet, and other programs that require Internet use, such as instant messaging programs, and which had been acknowledged by the employee, the violation of such rules can result in a disciplinary action and even in a disciplinary dismissal (see Barbulescu v. Romania).
If the employee has any confidential information as a result of his position within the company, he cannot divulge such secret with the use of social media. A recent ruling of a national court established that the social media is a public space, even if it has restrictions on access, meaning that any mentions on social media are to be regarded as publicly made. Also as a result of the general principle of conducting the relationship on good faith, the employee should refrain to make public affirmations that could discredit his employer.
Using social media in a manner that may affect the image or even the activity of the employer, may result in disciplinary action against the employee. Also, if the image or the activity of the employer is severely affected, the employer can also claim a financial compensation from the employee. Using confidential information and making it available on social media without authorisation can also lead to the disciplinary sanctioning of the employee, and may be grounds for a financial compensation claim.