Information Note on the Constitutional Court’s Decision dated 12.02.2021 Regarding the Employer’s Right to Audit Employee’s E-mails
- Subject of Application Made to the Constitutional Court
The Constitutional Court decision dated 12.01.2021 regarding the application numbered 2018/31036 has been published in the Official Gazette dated 05.02.2021. The subject of the application is whether the termination of the employment contract based on evidences obtained through audit of corporate e-mail account of a private bank employee by the employer and the evidence obtained as a result of the audit, violate the right to respect for private life, the right to demand protection of personal data and the freedom of communication.
2.Constitutional Court’s Decision Regarding the Application
As a result of the examination, the Constitutional Court has decided that audit of the employee’s corporate e-mail account by the employer has not violated the respect for private life, the right to demand protection of personal data and freedom of communication.
3.Important Points Mentioned In the Decision
Within the scope of the examination conducted by the Constitutional Court, some important limitations were mentioned in terms of the employer’s right to audit the communication tools:
- If the employers examine the corporate e-mails of their employees for the purpose of ensuring that the works are carried out effectively according to the features of the work / workplace, it can be accepted that there is a legitimate interest for the employer;
- If an employer with a legitimate interest informs employees that their corporate e-mail accounts may be audit, the employer does not need to obtain the employee’s consent before exercising the right to audit the employee’s corporate e-mail account;
- Following notification that e-mail accounts will be audited, the employee must be deemed to have consented to the audit, unless an objection has been raised by the employee;
- However, the employers’ right to audit the correspondences in such e-mail accounts is not unlimited, and the employer may exercise the right to audit by considering the features the work / workplace and in accordance with the purpose of audit.
In this specific case subject to the Constitutional Court’s decision;
- there is a clause in the employment agreement stating that the corporate e-mail account may be audited,
- there is no record of any objection raised by the employee;
- the audit conducted by the employer is limited to the purpose of audit and the right to audit has been properly examined.
As a result, Constitutional Court has decided that the employer may audit the correspondence in the corporate e-mail account of the employee and this situation does not violate the respect for private life, the right to demand protection of personal data and freedom of communication.