What does this cover?

Further to the Guidelines issued by the Garante (the Italian Data Protection Authority) in 2007, new legislative provisions have been introduced in Italy which clarify the position on employee monitoring in light of technological developments (Law).

Historically monitoring of employees in Italy was prohibited subject to it coming under the category of 'defensive checks', for example in the case of suspected illegal activity, or the employer obtaining prior approval of trade unions.

The new Law attempts to update the position of the Garante to reflect the developments in technology since the introduction of the Guidelines.  It provides that:

  1. Devices that have the sole purpose of monitoring an employee's work activity are still prohibited;  
  2. Any audio video system that may result in the remote monitoring of employees can be used for certain purposes, provided prior trade union approval has been obtained; and  
  3. Use of audio video systems do not require prior trade union approval if they are necessary for the performance of an employee's work or if their purpose is to monitor access to the work place, provided adequate notice has been given.  Any information gained through these means can also be used in disciplinary proceedings.  

The Law has not been welcomed by trade unions, which see it as an excessive restriction on an employee's rights.  It also leaves some questions unanswered, such as what devices will be deemed necessary for the performance of an employee's work.

What action could be taken to manage risks that may arise from this development?

Financial services companies with presence in Italy should review their employee monitoring practices for compliance with the Law and should update their policies so that they are specific and as detailed as possible as to the extent of such monitoring and the type of information gathered through devices used by employees when carrying out their work.

Submitted by Aldo Feliciani of Studio Legale Bonarae Associati – Milan, Italy in partnership with DAC Beachcroft.