A judge of the District Court of Maastricht in summary proceedings has rendered a judgement on the question whether an employer is allowed to conduct a forensic investigation of employee personal data and if so, how such investigation should be conducted.14
This case concerned a suspended employee who objected to his administrative data being seized and investigated by a forensic accountant on behalf of his employer. Initially, the Court allowed the employee to correct a list of key words aimed at filtering any personal data and appointed a specialist (i.e. an attorney) to select and transfer the resulting data to the forensic accountant. However, the Court subsequently found that the perspectives of the specialist and the forensic accountant were too divergent. The Court found that, on the basis of the preliminary report rendered by the forensic accountant and the gravity of the facts investigated, the interests of the employer in conducting the investigation prevailed over those of the employee in protecting his privacy. Hence, the Court held that the employee had to tolerate his administrative data being the subject of a forensic investigation and that this did not constitute an inadmissible violation of the employee’s right to protection of his privacy.