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Groundbreaking Employment Law Ruling Regarding Monitoring of Employees
Israel’s National Labour Court recently issued a significant and groundbreaking ruling regarding employers’ monitoring of employees’ emails in the workplace. This ruling is applicable and important for all businesses with employees in Israel. HFN’s Labour and Employment Law department, led by Orly Gerbi, summarised the issue as follows:
Substantive Development regarding the monitoring of emails – important ruling where there was a legal vacuum
The National Labour Court has recently ruled (LA 90/08 Isakov Inbar v. Women's Law Superior) that if an employer wishes to access the use of emails by its employees, it must first obtain their general consent by establishing an explicit policy. The employer is required to inform the employees of such a policy. The employer should follow the principle of “proximity to the purpose” and exercise its right based upon the principles of legitimacy, reasonability and proportionality, within the context of the specific circumstances, prior to proceeding with any email monitoring. Moreover, even if the employer has complied with all of these conditions, then under certain circumstances (for example, in reviewing the content of personal e-mails in an office e-mail account) the employer is also required to obtain the particular employee's explicit and informed consent for each specific instance of email monitoring. Accordingly, in such a situation, obtaining the general consent only would not be sufficient. Furthermore, the Court has distinguished between email monitoring performed in accordance with the nature of the employee's inbox (professional, personal, mixed and external (web based)-personal email accounts). In this regard, the court has provided general guidelines for the employer to follow with respect to each specific access, according to the nature of the account being accessed (for example, the monitoring of the use of emails as well as their content in an external web based personal account is not permitted without obtaining the employee’s specific and lawful consent). This decision of the National Labour Court has had a substantial impact on all employers, who are now addressing the implications of the decision and considering how they should adapt to the contents of the ruling (for example, through adopting a new IT and emails monitoring policy, determining rules about employees use of company's systems and so on).
For more information, please contact:
Orly Gerbi at email@example.com or on +972 3 692 2045