FRANCE - Europe’s Highest Court Sides with Employees

Arno Froese

Europe’s top rights court restricted the ability of employers to snoop on their staff’s private messages, in a landmark ruling with wide ramifications for privacy in the workplace.

The highest body of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in favor of a 38-year-old Romanian man who claimed his rights had been violated when he was sacked in 2007 for sending private chat messages in the office.

Bogdan Mihai Barbulescu has fought a 10-year legal battle through Romanian and European courts, claiming his privacy was infringed when his employer accessed intimate exchanges with his fiancee and brother.

In a review, the 17 most senior judges at the court based in Strasbourg, France, found that Romanian courts “had not adequately protected Mr. Barbulescu’s right to respect for his private life and correspondence.”

In a written judgement, backed by 11 votes to six, they found that previous court rulings had “failed to strike a fair balance between the interests at stake,” namely the company’s right to check on employees and employees’ right to privacy.

The judges also found that “an employer’s instructions could not reduce private social life in the workplace to zero,” meaning that some use of the internet at work for personal reasons was justified.

The ruling will become law in the 47 countries that have ratified the European Convention on Human Rights, meaning some members will have to adjust their national legislation., 5 September 2017

Arno's commentary

When it comes to human rights, particularly for employees, Europe stands head and shoulders above anyone else in the world. This development seems rather strange. More work usually translates into more prosperity. Such is not the case where Europe is concerned. When it comes to holidays (vacations), workers are entitled to a minimum of 4 weeks; many receive even 6 to 8 weeks, plus very generous paid sick days (34 days average) the workforce can take advantage of. So, the question arises: how come they are so successful? There are multiple reasons, but an important one is: a well-rested, well-compensated workforce produces high-quality products. For example, the Netherlands: their exports stand at 480.1 billion, against imports of 422.3 billion; or Germany, with 1.283 trillion in exports, and 987.6 billion in imports.

Why Europe? Because Europe belongs to Rome, and Rome is the last Gentile superpower. We must keep in mind that Europeans have conquered the entire world at one time or another. On the American continent (North and South), all 35 nations were established by European colonial powers. That pattern is also evident on the African continent, as well as Asia.

What does it mean for the future? Europe will continue to increase its dominance on planet earth, but in the end, for Europe and the rest of the world, the greatest catastrophe ever is yet to come. “The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off” (Revelation 18:15-17).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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