Bărbulescu v Romania and workplace privacy: is the Grand Chamber’s judgment a reason to celebrate?

By Argyro Chatzinikolaou, (Doctoral Student), Law & Technology, Faculty of Law, Ghent University

The recent judgment of the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR in the case of Bărbulescu v Romania found that the monitoring of an employee’s email account resulted in the violation of his right to respect for private life and correspondence within the meaning of Article 8 of the ECHR. By overturning last year’s judgment of the Fourth Section, the ECtHR gave relief to many who dreaded that the latter judgment had waived privacy in the workplace. Whether we can afford to be complacent, though, depends upon the grounds on which the violation was reasoned. Continue reading

Resuscitating Workplace Privacy? A Brief Account of the Grand Chamber Hearing in Bărbulescu v. Romania

Guest post by Gaurav Mukherjee[1] and James Wookey[2]

On 30 November 2016, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) heard oral arguments in Bărbulescu v. Romania. The case was referred to the Grand Chamber on 6 June 2016, after a Chamber judgment delivered on 12 January 2016.  The applicant sent private communications on his workplace Yahoo Messenger account, which were monitored by his employer in accordance with company policy that no private communications were to be sent from workplace devices. The majority in the Chamber judgment held that this surveillance did not violate the applicant’s right to respect for private life under Article 8 ECHR, which immediately provoked critics to claim that privacy in the European workplace was officially dead.[3]

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