With the coming into effect of the GDPR on 25 May 2018, the modernisation of European privacy laws has reached a critical milestone. Hogan Lovells has updated our guide “Future-proofing privacy,” which aims to be a useful starting point for organisations seeking to understand the GDPR and comply with it. Twenty-four authors from 10 European Hogan Lovells offices have contributed their knowledge, efforts, and advice to compile a unique resource of practical guidance. We have identified the key issues and explained why they matter. Crucially, we have approached the new framework with a practical mindset, providing concrete suggestions for actions to take now.
Part 11 of Future-Proofing Privacy: Data Protection in the Workplace. Modern technology offers advanced technical options to monitor employee performance and conduct. Even standard IT applications may be used to control or record personnel behaviour in the workplace. Where previously the degree of employee supervision was limited by what the technology could do, rapid technological advancements mean that data protection laws are now the principal limitation in the EU. The Regulation is due to play a major role in this respect. As a consequence, employee data privacy has been one of the most hotly debated aspects of the Regulation. This area of data privacy will remain less harmonised than other fields of data protection.
To what extent are the personal communications sent by an employee from their employer’s computer private? In Europe it has been accepted for some years that employees do not lose their right to privacy in the workplace. However a recent decision from the European Court of Human Rights confirms the rights of the employer to restrict employees from any personal use of the employer’s computer equipment and, consequently, rely on a contravention of the restriction (which is revealed through monitoring) as grounds for dismissal.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court reversed a decision of the Ninth Circuit in City of Ontario v. Quon and unanimously decided in favor of a public employer that had engaged in a limited administrative/accounting review of employee text messages. In this blog entry, we explain how the Court avoided deciding what is a reasonable expectation of privacy in electronic devices; we observe how a dormant federal case allowing a private employer search of e-mail despite an expectation of privacy may have renewed vitality; but in light of a recent New Jersey Supreme Court case, we remind private employers of the importance of a clear electronic communications policy (to limit or defeat expectations of privacy), of training and of purpose-limited searches.