Is your boss allowed to check your emails?

Is your employer allowed to monitor and read your e-mail traffic?
In exceptional cases, it is indeed allowed.
According to the socialist trade union BBTK, ING Belgium allegedly screened the e-mail traffic of 2,000 employees, but the bank-insurer denies this.
Filip Tilleman, a lawyer specialising in labour law, was interviewed by De Standaard about the rules of the game in this respect following a complaint filed against ING Belgium.
Filip Tilleman: “The rules for this are laid down in a national collective labour agreement, CLA 81, which applies to all companies. If your employer wants to monitor your e-mail traffic, this is done on the absolute condition that the company has agreed a clear policy on this and that employees are informed about it. That policy must also specify the purposes for which your employer can possibly check your e-mail traffic. After all, monitoring must be proportionate.
If there is no clear company policy on e-mail traffic, your employer cannot monitor e-mail traffic, including to whom you e-mail. In any case, it can only be done for lawful purposes, for instance to prevent someone from leaking confidential information, to protect the IT system or to prevent illegal or defamatory acts. Before your e-mail traffic can be monitored, your employer must first take some kind of “picture” of normal e-mail traffic. Only if a heavy suspicion arises on that basis that there are fundamental anomalies, then your boss can look more specifically at what is going on there. However, private e-mails should not be looked into, even if they are sent through a professional channel. By this I mean really private matters, such as an e-mail to your child or your partner.”
Read the full article from De Standaard here.

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