Forcing teleworkers to operate webcams is a human rights violation

Forcing teleworkers to operate webcams is a human rights violation

Covid-19 has changed our relationship to work, especially by trivializing telework. The latter sometimes raises questions about privacy violations.

If you are telecommuting, does your employer have the right to request that you be continuously filmed during your work hours? At the end of September, the question was decided in the Netherlands and there was no answer.

Unfair dismissal

On August 23, a person working at Chetu, a Netherlands-based and US-based software development company, was there to undergo virtual training. During this period, he had to share his screen and turn on his webcam during his work hours. A duty he was uncomfortable with. So he shared his feelings with his superiors NL Times : I’m not comfortable looking through a camera for 9 hours a day. The employee pleaded. This is an invasion of my privacy and it makes me very uncomfortable. That’s why my camera doesn’t turn on. You can already monitor all my laptop activities and share my screen. ยป It didn’t take long for the company to react, as they fired him a few days later “refusal to work” And “incontinence”.

75,000 Euros as compensation

According to the Tilburg court, the company’s decision was completely disproportionate. He also relied on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the judgment of the European Court of Justice, explaining that the requirement to operate a webcam was too intrusive of the user-employee’s privacy. So the company has to pay him 75,000 euros as compensation.

This brutal dismissal, so shocking in Europe, can be explained by the difference in law in the United States and especially in Florida, where the company in question is located. In this state, it is about employment “over the counter”This means that the company can fire an employee for any reason without warning, which is not illegal.

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