The Italian Supreme Court, with its recent decision (No. 22148 of May 8, 2017), restated the main principle of Section 4 of “Workers’ Statute of Rights” (as amended by Section 23 of the Legislative Decree No. 151/2017) requiring an agreement between employer and trade union for the setting up of audiovisual and monitoring systems for the remote control of employees (hereinafter “Systems”). If no agreement is reached, the employer must request authorization for the Systems’ installation from the local Labor Agency.

The Court stated the employer must always follow the procedures established by Section 4 of the Statute, as above explained, even if the employees themselves accepted the system set-up under the procedure provided by the Italian Personal Data Protection Code, approving the Systems’ installation.

These requirements are meant to protect general interests, because trade unions or the local Labor Agency shall verify whether the Systems respect employees’ dignity and comply with the safety, technical and production necessities. The Court stated the social and economic asymmetry between the employer and the employees could cause these latter to accept the setting up of Systems regardless of their compliance with applicable legal requirements. In essence, the Court has raised the level of employees’ protection in such sensitive areas as their “remote surveillance” and “Big Brother watch”. Consensus must be sought by the employer at a higher level – unions or public agency.