We’ve blogged about multi-language translation, e-Discovery translation and data privacy laws. Whether in Europe or the U.S., concerns about where to draw the line between privacy and security are being hotly debated. However, there are important differences between U.S. and European privacy laws. But, as a rule of thumb, employers may properly conduct reasonable searches of employees’ workplaces and monitor employees’ electronic communications for legitimate business purposes.
To conduct a proper search in the European Union, an employer should:
- Inform all employees that workplace searches may be conducted from time to time, consistent with the employer’s legitimate business interest.
- Publish the policy in common areas in order to prevent employees from developing an expectation of privacy.
- A company policy should hold that an authorized manager must approve all workplace searches in advance.
- The manager should be able to articulate the legitimate business reason and have it put into writing.
Clearly, when dealing with a non-English speaking workforce, none of these steps will be held as sufficient if the employees are not able to understand them. For this reason, it is essential that all corporate communications and policies regarding workplace privacy have a foreign language translation into the native language of the workforce.