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Forcing employees to keep webcam on is violation of human rights: Dutch Court

Forcing employees to keep webcam on is violation of human rights: Dutch Court

Forcing employees to keep webcam on is violation of human rights: Dutch Court
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By CNBCTV18.com Oct 10, 2022 2:07:23 PM IST (Published)

A Dutch Employee took a Florida-based company to court for ‘unfair dismissal’ after he was fired for not keeping his webcam on during work hours.

In a case where a Dutch employee was fired by a US company for not keeping his webcam on during work hours, a Dutch court has ruled such demands to be in violation of privacy and human rights. Florida-based Chetu hired a telemarketer in the Netherlands, and as per company rules, it demanded the employee turn on his webcam.

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The employee refused to do so as he was not happy with being monitored “for 9 hours per day,” in a program that included screen-sharing and streaming his webcam. As a result, he was fired by the company on grounds of ‘refusal to work’ and ‘insubordination’, according to public court documents, reported Tech Crunch.
The employee took Chetu to the court for unfair dismissal, and the Dutch court ruled that “instructions to keep the webcam turned on is in conflict with the respect for the privacy of the workers,” the report mentions. In its verdict, the court even said that demanding webcam surveillance is a human rights violation.
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The court also ordered Chetu to pay for the employee’s court costs, a fine of $50,000, back wages, and an order to remove the employee’s non-compete clause. As per the ruling, the company also needs to pay the employee’s wages, unused vacation days, and several of other costs.
The employee had expressed that Chetu was already monitoring him and his activities as he was sharing his screen during work hours. The employee felt that there was no need to stream from his webcam for nine hours a day as he believed it was an invasion of privacy and it made him feel uncomfortable. “That is the reason why my camera is not on,” the court document quotes the anonymous employee’s communication to Chetu. However, the company’s response to that message was to fire the employee.
This would have been fine in all at-will states in the US such as Chetu’s home state Florida but the labour laws work a little differently in other parts of the world.
Chetu was a no-show for the court case, as per the TechCrunch report.
 
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