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A Reading-based company was taken to court by an ex-employee after the organization accessed private emails sent to the employee’s work email address for business continuity purposes.

The former employee brought the court case against her employer and the two managers of the company for reading three private messages sent to her work email address. According to the International Law Office the action was based on the following alleged offences:

  • Violation of the law on the protection of individuals regarding the processing of personal data;
  • Violation of the Labour Code provisions on the monitoring of employees in the workplace;
  • Violation of the confidentiality of electronic communications;
  • Breach of privacy; and
  • Violation of the secrecy of correspondence.

The company argued that the emails had been accessed only due to the need to ensure business continuity during the employee's absence.

The court examined the origin of the electronic communications and inferred that since the emails were sent from addresses relating to the employer's ‘business relationships’, ‘continuous professional relationships’ and ‘professional relationships, the employer could not have been aware that they were of a private nature when accessing them and acquitted the company of wrong-doing.

The case was taken to the Court of Appeal where the judgement was partially amended, stating that two of the emails were legitimately opened, the third was opened unlawfully as it was marked ‘Private Confidential’.

Source: International Law Office

Read more details of this case here.


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