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Italian Labor Courts Admit “WhatsApp” Dismissals

The Italian Labor Court of Catania (the “Sicilian Court”), with its recent decision of 27 June 2017, ruled for the first time in Italy that employers may notify employees of their dismissals through WhatsApp (a ubiquitous smartphone texting application).   WhatsApp messages are now valid and legally equivalent to the traditional – and mandatory – “written notice of dismissal”.

Because WhatsApp messages show the actual date and time of receipt (“grey double check” and “blue double check” protocols), the applicable Italian legal requirements for judicial evidence are duly satisfied with this more contemporary means of electronic communication.

The Sicilian Court declared it irrelevant whether or not the employer or one of its agents sends the dismissal message because Italian corporate rules allow the principal to ratify – with retroactive effect – an agent’s deed of dismissal sent on its behalf (the company’s technical director, in the case at issue).

The Sicilian

The Italian Labor Reform and the new “Horizontal Mobility”

The Labor Court of Milan and the Italian Supreme Court issued two decisions (No. 3370/2016 and 618/2017) interpreting the updated Section 2013 of the Italian Civil Code, concerning the “repêchage obligation.”

In particular, before dismissing an employee for objectively justified reasons (e.g., abolition of the department or functions in the company), the employer has the obligation to evaluate whether the employee could be employed in another role in the company.  In this respect, the Italian reform law, so-called “Jobs Act,” allows employers to reclassify staff categories, as well as introduce mobility within and among staff levels. This means the criterion of equivalent tasks has been replaced by the principle of horizontal mobility with the possibility to give job tasks attributable to the same level and staff category of the latest functions performed by the employee.  Therefore, the employer may assign to employees any functions included in the classification system of

The Italian Supreme Court Restricts Employer’s Remote Control of Employees

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

The Italian Data Protection Authority restricts the monitoring of employees’ internet access and e-mail use

The Italian Data Protection Authority (“IDPA”) issued its first decision interpreting the amended Section 4 of the “Workers’ Bill of Rights,” concerning the monitoring of employees’ internet access and e-mail use.

In particular, the employees of a University in Italy claimed their employer monitored their personal data, by recording their web-browsing file logs (specifically, the Media Access Control address, “MAC Address”, and the Internet Protocol address, “IP Address”) and other personal internet-access information, using hidden software operating “in the background”.

The IDPA inquired and found the employer had wrongly classified its employees’ MAC and IP address data as being subject to no “personal protection” rules. This classification, according to the IDPA’s decision, would run contrary to the principles established by the EU Council of Ministers in its Recommendation No. CM/Rec (2015) 5, dated 1 April 2015.  Therefore, the IDPA found the generic notice included in the University’s internal privacy policy,

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