CNIL Sets Forth Guidelines for Workplace Privacy Protection

The French CNIL has adopted and published a new set of guidelines that set forth “best practices” about privacy protection at work. According to the Guidelines, employers can monitor an employee’s Internet use such as web-surfing and electronic mail. They can keep track of the list of websites visited and of the amount of time an employee spends online. However, they cannot use “keyloggers” to track all activities on a computer. Any monitoring must be declared by employers to the CNIL. Employers must inform their employees about the procedure in place, its aim and duration. Employers cannot access any email marked as “private” or “personal,” except during a trial, and based on a court order. Additionally, employers cannot receive a copy of every email sent by employees. The first principle set forth by the Guidelines is that employers cannot use the result of illegal monitoring during a performance evaluation or against an employee under disciplinary procedure. The CNIL recommends that employers set up policies in their companies to notify their employees of every rule, or monitoring procedure in place.

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