Diritto & Internet

10 Things we can’t not know about…Facebook and employees

The recent firing of a British employee who seems to have lost her job for posting a complaint on her Facebook profile about her salary, leads us to thinking again about the question of the uses employees make of technological resources in Italy. Here we are talking about Facebook only because it is the most widespread social network.
1) Is it forbidden to use Facebook in the workplace?
Not always, it depends, the employer has the right to choose.
2) How can we know what the employer’s choice is?
We need to read employer policy or the guidelines (names can vary greatly) also keeping one eye on the Guidelines of the Italian Data Protection Authority.
3) What if policies do not exist?
Obviously rules can be found elsewhere, for example in the contract. In this case work tools are only supposed to be entrusted to the employee for professional use.
4) Could professional policies provide for the use of Facebook for personal reasons?
Generally, yes. An employer’s choices can vary widely. The employer may also exercise a choice of leniency.
5) What if the employer is a public body?
In such cases the matter is rather more delicate. We have to remember that the criminal code punishes the crime of embezzlement.
6) Are workers in any way limited when they express thoughts on Facebook regarding their work or employer?
They are limited by norms of a general nature which might be applied in the same way to Facebook as to any other circumstances, and which could be, for example, the duty of professional loyalty, the principle of fairness, the obligation of non-competition, the norms of personal data protection, and also the respect of honour and of other people’s reputations.
7) Are employers allowed to use information about their workers found on Facebook?
If it is found through legal channels through Facebook’s particular chain of consent, then yes.
8) Should information found on Facebook be considered as private?
It depends on the meaning of “private”. Public information on Facebook is directly or indirectly visible to authorized individuals (for example, friends, friends of friends) and so potentially posted to many individuals.
9) Can information on Facebook only be used for certain purposes (e.g. personal) and not for others (e.g professional)?
Only if this limitation is expressly stated. At the moment it is not possible.
10) Do we need an ad hoc law?
Germany is thinking in this direction. Personally I am still against special laws for every technological innovation. What we need is greater awareness.

Giusella Finocchiaro

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Scientific Director
Prof. Avv. Giusella Finocchiaro
Editorial Curator
Dott. Giulia Giapponesi

Lo Studio Legale Finocchiaro prosegue la sua attività con DigitalMediaLaws, la nuova società tra Avvocati fondata dalla Prof.ssa Avv. Giusella Finocchiaro e dal Prof. Avv. Oreste Pollicino.

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