The Article 29 Working Party (“Working Party”) recently issued its Opinion on data processing at work (the “Opinion”). The Opinion, which complements the Working Party’s previous Opinion 08/2001 on the processing of personal data in the employment context and Working document on the surveillance of electronic communications in the workplace, seeks to provide guidance on balancing employee privacy expectations in the workplace with employers’ legitimate interests in processing employee data. The Opinion is applicable to all types of employees and not just those under an employment contract (e.g., freelancers).

Continue Reading Article 29 Working Party Releases Opinion on Data Processing at Work

On September 27, 2016, the French Data Protection Authority (“CNIL”) announced the adoption of two new decisions, Single Authorizations AU-052 and AU-053, that will now cover all biometric access control systems in the workplace. These two new decisions repeal and replace the previous biometric decisions adopted by the CNIL and lay down the CNIL’s new position on biometric systems used to control access to the premises, software applications and/or devices in the workplace.   Continue Reading CNIL Publishes New Rules on Biometric Access Control in the Workplace

On January 12, 2016, the European Court of Human Rights (“the Court”) ruled in Bărbulescu v. Romania that companies can monitor their employees’ online communications in certain circumstances.

The case concerned the dismissal of a Romanian engineer, Bărbulescu, by his employer, for the use of the company’s Internet and in particular, Yahoo Messenger, for personal purposes during work hours. The employer alleged that Bărbulescu was violating internal regulations that prohibit the use of the company’s equipment for personal purposes.

Continue Reading European Court of Human Rights Issues Decision on Monitoring Employee Use of the Internet

As reported in the Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives Blog:

On November 2, 2015, a putative class action was filed against retailer Big Lots Stores, Inc. in Philadelphia, stemming from allegations that the company “systematically” violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (“FCRA’s”) “standalone disclosure requirement” by making prospective employees sign a document used as a background check consent form that contained extraneous information. Among other things, the plaintiff alleges that Big Lots’ form violates the FCRA because it includes the following three categories of extraneous information: (1) an “implied liability waiver” (specifically, a statement that the applicant “fully understand[s] that all employment decisions are based on legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons”); (2) state-specific notices; and (3) information on how background information will be gathered and from which sources, statements pertaining to disputing any information, and the name and contact information of the consumer reporting agency.

Continue Reading Retailer Sued over Allegations that Background Check Consent Form Includes Extraneous Information

As reported in the Hunton Employment & Labor Law Perspectives Blog:

On October 27, 2015, the Ninth Circuit held in EEOC v. McLane Co., Inc. that the EEOC has broad subpoena powers to obtain nationwide private personnel information, including Social Security numbers (“SSNs”), in connection with its investigation of a sex discrimination charge.

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Holds that the EEOC Has Broad Access to Personal Information, Including Social Security Numbers

On May 25, 2015, the French Data Protection Authority (“CNIL”) released its long-awaited annual inspection program for 2015. Under French data protection law, the CNIL may conduct four types of inspections: (1) on-site inspections (i.e., the CNIL may visit a company’s facilities and access anything that stores personal data); (2) document reviews (i.e., the CNIL may require an entity to send documents or files upon written request); (3) hearings (i.e., the CNIL may summon representatives of organizations to appear for questioning and provide other necessary information); and (4) since March 2014, online inspections.

Continue Reading French Data Protection Authority Reveals 2015 Inspection Program

In a decision published on January 6, 2015, the French data protection authority (the “CNIL”) adopted a new Simplified Norm NS 47 (the “Simplified Norm”) that addresses the processing of personal data in connection with monitoring and recording employee telephone calls in the workplace. Data processing operations in compliance with all of the requirements set forth in the Simplified Norm may be registered with the CNIL through a simplified registration procedure. If the processing does not comply with the Simplified Norm, however, a standard registration form must be filed with the CNIL. The Simplified Norm includes the following requirements:

Continue Reading French Data Protection Authority Issues New Decision on Monitoring and Recording Telephone Calls in the Workplace

As reported in the Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives Blog:

In Purple Communications, Inc., a divided National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) held that employees have the right to use their employers’ email systems for statutorily protected communications, including self-organization and other terms and conditions of employment, during non-working time. In making this determination, the NLRB reversed its divided 2007 decision in Register Guard, which held that employees have no statutory right to use their employer’s email systems for Section 7 purposes.

Continue Reading NLRB Reverses Register Guard; Grants Workers Right to Use Employer Email System for Section 7 Purposes

Hunton & Williams Labor & Employment partner Susan Wiltsie reports:

Fears of a worldwide Ebola pandemic appear to have abated, but the tension between workplace safety and employee privacy, thrown into relief by this health emergency, remains an issue relevant to all employers. Any potential health threat created by contagious illness requires employers to plan and put into effect a reasonable response, including policies governing the terms and conditions under which employees may be required to stay away from the workplace, and in which their health care information may be relevant to workplace decisions.

Continue Reading Ebola and Other Health Emergencies Create Workplace Privacy Dilemmas