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Human rights - installation of covert surveillance to monitor workplace theft violated employees' Article 8 rights - López Ribalda and others v Spain (Application nos. 1874/13 and 8567/13) [ECHR] 09.01.18 (Unreported)

The European Court of Human Rights has held, by a majority, that a Spanish employer's decision to install hidden video cameras to monitor suspected thefts by a number of supermarket cashiers violated the cashiers' privacy rights under Article 8(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The employer had installed several visible surveillance cameras aimed at detecting theft by customers, and several concealed cameras aimed at recording theft by employees. Shortly afterwards, five employees were caught on video stealing items, and helping co-workers and customers steal items. The employees admitted involvement in the thefts and were dismissed. Spanish courts upheld the dismissals. The employees contended that the use of the covert video evidence in the unfair dismissal proceedings had infringed both their privacy rights and their right to a fair hearing under Article 6(1) of the ECHR. The court upheld the employees' Article 8 claim finding that the Spanish courts had failed to strike a fair balance between the employees' right to respect for their private life and the employer's interest in protecting its property
Category: Human Rights » Employment; Fair trial; Private and family life. Area(s) of law: Employment; Public Sector.

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