Hired by the American software maker Chetu, but living in the Netherlands, a Dutch worker was forced by his employer to both share his screen and keep his webcam on for nine hours a day. Annoyed by the situation, the employee decided to refuse to turn on his webcam, judging that his screen sharing was more than enough. The effrontery greatly displeased American society which, with all the diplomacy of Uncle Sam, took the decision to send him back for “refusal to work” and “insubordination”according to the document published by the Dutch justice.
Human rights and the teleworker
Seized in court by his former employee for unfair dismissal, Chetu was sentenced by the court to pay a fine of $50,000, pay the employee’s wages and paid vacation days as well as remove his non-competition clause. This unfair dismissal has greatly annoyed the Dutch justice which considers that “the instructions to leave the webcam on are at odds with respecting the privacy of workers” and even goes so far as to declare that the surveillance of employees by webcam is in fact a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
She thus quoted the 8th article which stipulates that “everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence”. The court states in its verdict that “camera surveillance for eight hours a day is disproportionate and not permitted in the Netherlands”. He pursues : “Video surveillance of an employee at their place of work, whether covert or not, must be considered a considerable intrusion into the employee’s privacy (…), and therefore [le tribunal] considers that it constitutes an interference with Article 8 of the ECHR.”