Editor's message: The Human Rights Act 1998 gives further effect to the rights and freedoms guaranteed to everyone, including workers, under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The key human rights that have an impact on the employment relationship are the rights to: respect for private and family life; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; freedom of expression; freedom of assembly and association; and the prohibition of discrimination.
The domestic courts and tribunals have considered the effect of workers' human rights in several employment areas, including the interception and recording of private emails and telephone calls; surveillance; the use of social media in the workplace; and representation at disciplinary hearings.
It is important to consider such rights and freedoms when you are, for example, monitoring employees’ use of email and internet; installing CCTV; setting rule on social media use; and deciding who can accompany staff at disciplinary hearings.
Fiona Cuming, employment law editor
Two-thirds of workers fear that workplace surveillance fuels distrust and could be used in a discriminatory way if left unregulated, prompting a call for new protections to prevent excessive or intrusive monitoring by employers.
Updated to include information on R (on the application of AR) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and another, in which the Supreme Court held that, although the disclosure of the job applicant's acquittal for rape was an interference with his human rights, it was justified.
In R (on the application of AR) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and another, the Supreme Court held that, although the disclosure of the appellant's acquittal for rape was an interference with his human rights, it was justified. However, the Court expressed concern at the lack of guidance for employers on how to deal with disclosures of serious criminal charges that result in acquittals.
In López Ribalda and others v Spain, the European Court of Human Rights held that Spanish shop workers' right to privacy was violated when a supermarket installed hidden cameras without their knowledge to monitor employee thefts.
In Antovic and another v Montenegro, the European Court of Human Rights held that overt camera surveillance in a university's lecture halls violated professors' right to privacy under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Cases on appeal provides news on key case law developments that are expected.
In Barbulescu v Romania  IRLR 1032 ECHR, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights held that the Romanian courts failed to afford adequate protection to the art.8 rights of an employee who sought to challenge his dismissal following a monitoring exercise by his employer.
The Supreme Court has held that the State Immunity Act 1978 cannot prevent embassy staff from enforcing workplace rights derived from EU employment laws.
In this Romanian case, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has held that monitoring the employee's private use of a business messaging account amounted to a breach of his right to private life and correspondence under art.8.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to human rights.