Uruguay: El correo electrónico corporativo o empresarial.

Last Updated: 15 March 2017
Article by Maria Cecilia Villa

¿Una herramienta de uso privado del trabajador o por el contrario una herramienta propiedad del empleador?

En un mundo donde la tecnología avanza a pasos agigantados, y las herramientas informáticas nos permiten mantenernos informados de lo que ocurre en los puntos más recónditos del mundo casi al instante, nos encontramos con la problemática de la aplicación de estas tecnologías dentro del ámbito laboral. ¿Qué ocurre cuando las mismas no son utilizadas con fines laborales durante la jornada laboral? A continuación se analizará el caso puntual del uso del correo electrónico empresarial o corporativo.

Respecto de los derechos del trabajador y del empleador.

La Constitución Uruguaya protege expresamente el derecho al trabajo, a la privacidad y el secreto de las comunicaciones, los cuales sería inherentes a la calidad humana.

Los artículos 7 y 33 de nuestra Constitución consagran expresamente el derecho al trabajo. Toda persona puede sin discriminación alguna acceder a un trabajo. Asimismo, los artículos 7, 28, 72 y 332 reconocen los derechos de intimidad o privacidad y secreto de las comunicaciones.

Si bien el trabajador tiene derecho al trabajo, privacidad y el secreto de las comunicaciones, esto no quiere decir que el empleador no pueda controlar la utilización de las herramientas de trabajo puestas a disposición de los primeros.

El empleador posee la potestad de controlar, fiscalizar y ante eventuales incumplimientos sancionar a sus trabajadores. Este control abarca no solo la forma en que realiza su trabajo el empleado, sino que también la manera en que utiliza las herramientas, recursos y medios disponibles que el empleador confía al trabajador para el cumplimiento del trabajo y su efectivo resultado. Un claro ejemplo de esto es el correo electrónico empresarial o corporativo.

Es importante destacar que la labor de contralor del empleador no solo importa a los efectos de corroborar si el trabajador cumple con las tareas encomendadas, sino que tiene implicancias sumamente mayores, como lo son la protección de la información confidencial de clientes, proveedores, así como de la propia empresa.

Ahora bien, la potestad de contralor no puede ser ejercida de manera arbitraria o caprichosa, debiendo ceñir su control estrictamente a la relación de trabajo. Es claro entonces que el empleador debe limitar su control a la estricta relación de trabajo y evitar entrometerse en cuestiones personales del trabajador. El problema radica en que la línea divisoria entre la vida personal del trabajador y su trabajo no se divisa claramente, y la carencia de normativa que delimite dicha división, complica aún más la situación.

¿Qué ocurre con la utilización del correo electrónico empresarial o corporativo?

En lo que refiere a ciertas páginas webs y redes sociales, como por ejemplo Facebook, a las que el empleador no desea que su trabajador acceda durante la jornada laboral, la solución se encontró fácilmente al poder recurrir al bloqueo del acceso a dichas páginas. Ahora ¿cómo controlar el uso del correo electrónico empresarial o corporativo? Es evidente la necesidad de la utilización de esta herramienta, pero ¿cómo puede hacer el empleador para controlar su uso?, o desde otra perspectiva ¿puede el trabajador utilizar libremente el correo electrónico empresarial o corporativo?

A los efectos de poder entender a qué nos referimos, es importante primero definir esta herramienta. En términos informáticos, el correo electrónico corporativo o empresarial consiste en la casilla electrónica creada por una empresa a los efectos del desarrollo de su actividad, las cuales generalmente tienen cuentas relacionadas a su dominio.

Por amplia mayoría, nuestra jurisprudencia sostiene que el correo electrónico empresarial es propiedad de la empresa y no del trabajador. Este último debe utilizarlo exclusivamente para fines laborales y directivas concretas impartidas por el empleador, absteniéndose de todo uso o aprovechamiento personal. La cuenta fue creada por la empresa y facilitada al trabajador únicamente para su uso laboral.

En consecuencia, al ser una herramienta de trabajo, el empleador puede ejercer los controles o injerencias que entienda pertinente en virtud de la relación laboral, no pudiendo considerarse como correspondencia privada, y en consecuencia no hallándose amparada por el artículo 28 de la Constitución.

Sin perjuicio de que esta posición es seguida por la mayoría de nuestra jurisprudencia, es altamente recomendable establecer la potestad del empleador de control sobre el correo corporativo en los propios reglamentos internos de la empresa, a los efectos de minimizar los fundamentos de eventuales conflictos.

En relación a lo anterior, no es menor el hecho de que un mal uso de las herramientas y medios de comunicación a las que el trabajador accede durante su jornada laboral, pueden ser considerados como una falta laboral y por ende ser pasibles de sanciones por parte del empleador. A modo de ejemplo sería viable sancionar al trabajador en aquellos casos en que utilice dichas herramientas con fines que nada tienen que ver con el interés objetivo de la empresa, como puede ser el uso personal o de otras actividades laborales que no tengan relación con la empresa.

Sin perjuicio de que varios años atrás podrían existir dudas al respecto de la temática en cuestión, actualmente es indiscutible el poder de control y dirección de un empleador respecto de las herramientas proporcionadas por éste.

Claro está que el avance tecnológico puede generar mayores desafíos e incertidumbres respecto de los mecanismos de comunicación de las empresas en el desarrollo de su operativa, así como el manejo de los mismos; sin embargo la posición respecto de éstos no debería de tener variantes sustanciales, debiendo el empleador mantener el poder de contralor.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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