According to section 4, paragraph 1, of law no. 300/70, an
employer is not allowed to use audiovisual equipment or any other
device which is aimed at the remote monitoring of an employee's
Furthermore, paragraph 2 of section 4 states that the use of
equipment which is primarily aimed at carrying out other functions,
but which may also monitor an employee's activity, may be
allowed only under the following circumstances:
where the use of such equipment is required for organisational
or productivity reasons or for safety requirements; or
where the employer has reached an agreement with the trade
union representatives for the use of such devices. In the absence
of such agreement, the employer may file a request to the
'Direzione Provinciale del Lavoro' (the local Labour
Authority) asking for authorisation to install such equipment.
Italian Courts' decision
The Italian Courts have always adopted a very strict
interpretation of these provisions.
Any equipment which, even just potentially, allows employee
monitoring falls under the scope of Section 4 of Law. no. 300/70
(Court of Cassation no. 9211/1997).
In other words, even if the employer does not intend to use such
devices for monitoring the employees' activity, if the
equipment is potentially able to monitor the employees, the
provisions stated under section 4 of law no. 300/70 will apply.
Furthermore, the Italian Court of Cassation has recently stated
(decision no. 4375/2010) that the employer's right to defend
itself against any unlawful behaviour by employees cannot prevail
over the employees' rights of dignity and privacy.
This principle applies especially when the employees'
potential unlawful behaviour concerns the exact fulfillment of
their duties (by way of example, the respect of the working hours)
rather then the safeguard of company goods and values.
Consequently, all data and information obtained by the employer
through equipment in breach of the law cannot be used in any way
against the employee.
Effects on employers
According to the aforementioned law and Court judgments,
cannot use any device for the purpose of monitoring their
can use equipment that may, incidentally, monitor their
employees' activity only if there is an agreement with the
trade unions or authorisation by the Direzione Provinciale del
cannot use any data or information collected with equipment
used in breach of the above rules.
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