The regional government of Cantabria introduced a mechanism of controlling employees’ working hours whereby a biometric identification system takes a reading of the hand and records it in a database, allowing the administration to monitor the hours between the arrival and the departure of each employee.

Unlike the trade unions which challenged such measure, the Supreme Court held that this is a perfectly adequate, relevant and proportional way to exercise a legitimate entitlement of any employer ensuring that its employees effectively comply with their corresponding working hours when obliged to adhere to a timetable. In this respect, the Court argued that the novelty or complexity of the system is not in itself a reason to conclude that it constitutes an illegitimate interference in the employees’ privacy or a breach of their personal integrity.

What this means for you

Companies now have a more solid basis to establish mechanisms to monitor employees’ working hours since this is identified as a legitimate faculty which derives from employers’ powers to organise and control their business and, in particular, their staff.