As an employment lawyer and one that regularly works with technology businesses I am constantly amazed at the things individuals think are acceptable to say and then send from their work email address but also what an IT expert can find out if necessary.
In light of this I found this decision from the European Court of Human Rights interesting but, if I am honest, not very surprising.
In short, an employee's right to a private life and correspondence is not breached by an employer monitoring their personal communications so long as they go about it in a reasonable and proportionate way.
In essence that means no fishing or unfettered snooping just on the off chance of finding something juicy. It also means telling the staff affected explicitly that monitoring may happen and making rules on what is and is not permitted on Company time and systems very clear. Those rules must then be adhered to by both the employee and the employer.
However, it will certainly be of comfort to all employers out there that the court expressly recognised the need for them to be able to verify that employees are actually carrying out their duties during working hours.
Private messages at work can be read by European employers By Kevin Rawlinson, BBC News 13 January 2016 Employers must put policies in place to protect workers from widespread snooping Employers can read workers' private messages sent via chat software and webmail accounts during working hours, judges have ruled.