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The ECHR has Confirmed the Legality of Firing Employees for Facebooking during Work Hours

15 February 2016

In January 2016 the European Court of Human Rights acknowledged the legality of the firing of a Romanian engineer for actively corresponding on Facebook from his work computer during work hours. The court confirmed that an employer has the full legal right to control what its employees do and what they use company computers for during work hours – whether for work or for personal ends.

The ECHR has Confirmed the Legality of Firing Employees for Facebooking during Work Hours

The European Court of Human Rights is an international legal body whose jurisdiction expands to all the member states of the Council of Europe that have ratified the European Convention on the Defense of Human Rights and Basic Freedoms. It encompasses all issues relating to the interpretation of the application of the convention, including inter-governmental affairs and complaints by individuals.

36-year-old engineer Mikhai Barbalescu was fired in 2007, after which he went through all the Romanian legal authorities and, after receiving a refusal, turned to the ECHR.

Checking a social networking page can, under certain circumstances, constitute interference in an employee’s personal life. It was to this theoretical violation of his rights that the engineer was appealing in court.

However, the court quite logically considered otherwise, since correspondence on a public “wall” on Facebook is essentially public. And the employment contract between the company and the employee states quite clearly that employees are prohibited from using company equipment for personal ends.

Since the ECHR is essentially the highest legal authority for the countries of the Council of Europe, its decision has set a precedent, and we can state will full confidence that not just using programs to monitor employees (legal memorandum), but also using information collected in this manner for staffing solutions is entirely legal.