Employer's right to monitor employees' email appealed

TheMarker.com recently reported  [Hebrew] a request for an appeal to the Tel Aviv Regional Labor Tribunal's decision that allows employers to read and monitor employees' email messages. The appeal was filed with the National Labor Court in Jerusalem. Last July, Judge Sigal Davidov-Motola established that in order to read employee's email messages, the employer must fulfill the provisions of the Israeli Wiretapping Law of 1979 and the Protection of Privacy Act of 1981. This decision was handed down in a legal suit brought by Mrs. Isacov against her former employer. In these specific circumstances, the court stated that since employee's email box was given to her by her employer for work needs, Mrs. Isakov implicitly gave her employer permission to read her email messages. In addition, the employer informed the employee that it usually monitors employees' email messages. The Judge Motola noted that the employee mixed personal content with professional content in her email box and by doing so she waived her right to privacy. The court ruled that the invasion of privacy in this case was minimal, since the exposed content did not contain private matters, and since the firm read the employee's messages to defend itself from the lawsuit filed by the former employee.

In her request for an appeal of Judge Motola's decision, Mrs. Isacov claimed that the decision unreasonably affected her right to freedom and privacy as an employee. In addition, Mrs. Isakov claimed that the company never informed her of its intentions to read her email messages. Therefore, she could not have anticipated that her email messages would be exposed to her employer. The plaintiff appellant also claimed that any employer monitoring should only concern virus filtering and computer operation. Therefore, the National Labor Court is requested to overrule Judge Motola's decision and decide that the email messages in this case cannot be used as evidence. It was also reported that the Association for the Public Rights and "Kav La'oved" (another Israeli employees' association) filed a request with the Court to join the Lawsuit to protect employees' right for privacy in their workplace.