On 12 January 2016, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg issued a judgment that can help Polish courts - by reference to this decision - in the resolution of similar cases between employer and employee.
The Court initiated proceedings with the complaint of the unemployed already engineer Bogdan Barbulescu against Romania (No. 61496/08) on the violation of Art. 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, accusing his employer of violating his right to respect his correspondence (specifically it concerned Yahoo Messenger).
The aforementioned engineer was fired from work after the employer, during periodic, repeated viewing of records of his business calls and correspondence accidentally stumbled on private contacts of the engineer with his fiancée (for instance he chatted with her), and his brother, during work hours and using the employer’s hardware and software.
The Court confirmed the findings of the national courts of the plaintiff that his employer precisely defined the rules and principles of employees using business facilities, equipment and software and made sure that all employees - including the aforementioned engineer - got acquainted with these rules and principles when they signed the employment contracts. The Court also confirmed that the employer did not go into the content of private correspondence of the plaintiff, recorded on business devices and therefore did not analyze it, and the plaintiff’s dismissal from work was based on a documented accusation of violating the rules, principles and regulations in force for using business equipment and software.
The Court unanimously decided that the complaint of violating Art. 8 of the Convention was admissible and by a vote of six to one that there was no violation of this article.