The Italian Supreme Court (the Corte di Cassazione) issued two interesting decisions on remote monitoring of employees’ working activity which as already reported is subject to considerable restrictions under Italian employment and privacy law.
The Court in the first case held that it was illegal the usage of a software monitoring the calls of a call centre assistant suspected to have performed a very large number of calls lasting less than 15 seconds (i.e. a duration not sufficient to allow customers to outline their questions and give a response) and to have performed a substantial number of personal calls. In such case, the protection of the employee’s privacy right prevented a monitoring activity aimed at ascertaining a breach of the employment agreement.
A different view was taken by the Court on a case where a bank employee had disclosed confidential information about a client to third parties via email and had also used such information to perform financial investments through which he had gained a personal profit. On this dispute the Court held that the access to the email account of the employee in order to ascertain the suspected illegal conduct was legal as it was subsequent to the challenged conduct and was not aimed at identifying a mere contractual breach but an illegal conduct.
The Italian Workers Bill indeed prohibits the remote monitoring of employees working activity and based on case law only the so called “defensive checks” have been allowed. But these two decisions provide further elements to assess the scope of “legal” remote monitoring practices.
As usual if you want to discuss the matter further, feel free to contact me, Giulio Coraggio.