Checking the possible misuse of working means or how far can the employer go when interfering in employees’ privacy?

4. 3. 2015

Judgment of the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic dated 7 August 2014, Ref. No. 21 Cdo 747/201

When protecting its property entrusted to employees to perform work, the employer is entitled to reasonably interfere in their privacy to ensure that the employees do not use means of production and working means for their personal needs.The degree of employees' privacy is determined (limited, restricted) by the fact that they perform dependent work, which is carried out in the relationship of employer superiority and employee subordination, on behalf of the employer, based on the employer's instructions, and that employees perform it personally for the employer (cf. Section 2 (1) of the Labour Code). Employees are also obliged to use means of production only to carry out the work entrusted to them, manage them properly, guard and protect them against damage, loss, destruction or abuse, and not to act in conflict with the legitimate interests of the employer (cf. Section 301 (d) of the Labour Code). The aforementioned employee status, particularly in relation to means of production and working means, is very precisely expressed in Section 316 (1), first sentence, which contains an express prohibition for employees to use, without the employer's consent, the employer's means of production and working means for their personal needs, including computer technology or, as the case may be, telecommunications equipment. The employer's authorisation to adequately check observance of this prohibition is expressly regulated in the second sentence of the same provision.

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