Case of Barbulescu v. Romania

Court Decisions

In December 2008, Romanian national Mr Bogdan Mihai Bărbulescu lodged a complaint (Application no. 61496/08) with the European Court of Human Rights, alleging that his former employer’s decision to terminate his contract had been based on a breach of his right to respect for his private life and correspondence. He also claimed that the domestic courts had failed to protect his right.

The case arose shortly after Mr Bărbulescu’s dismissal from work, as an engineer in charge of sales with a private company, in 2007. Contrary to internal regulations which strictly prohibited employees from using the company’s computers and resources for personal purposes, the employee used a Yahoo Messenger account not only for responding to clients’ enquiries but also for personal purposes. His employer had monitored the private communications, and presented transcripts in Court. The Bucharest County Court dismissed the employee’s complaint; the Bucharest Court of Appeal dismissed the employee’s appeal.