Hungary: Hungary And Data Protection In The Workplace

Last Updated: 27 July 2016
Article by Specht & Partner

Employers have a keen economic interest in ensuring that employees keep operational information confidential and spend work time completing necessary tasks efficiently and effectively. For this reason, employers have an inevitable need to monitor the work of their employees. At the same time, monitored employees also have a relevant need to protect their privacy and human dignity. These two opposing interests make setting boundaries an important part of fostering a positive work environment that meets the needs of both employers and employees.

Employers will often aim to control employee behaviour at the workplace, which nowadays is becoming increasingly difficult to completely separate from private lives. From time to time employees might send private e-mails from corporate accounts or browse the internet on office computers during work hours. Regardless of whether employees do this with malicious intent or at the expense of their job performance, an employer's control powers conflict with employee personality rights.

Legal regulations set the general boundaries of an employer's control power. An employer may only monitor and control an employee's behaviour if it relates to work performance. In the course of monitoring and controlling, the principles of purpose limitation, necessity and proportionality must be maintained. Furthermore, an employee must consent to having his or her personal data collected and used. In Hungary, the Data Protection Supervisor has set forth the guiding principles for dealing with employee data. Our current newsletter focuses on legal regulations regarding an employer's right to control, monitor or inspect employee corporate e-mail accounts and employee internet usage.

Surveillance of Employee Internet Usage

Regulations concerning surveillance of internet usage differ according to whether the electronic device (computer, notebook, tablet, smartphone, etc.) has been given to the employee strictly for work purposes or for work and private use. An employer that does not specify and declare that such equipment is strictly for work has no right to access or search any personal data stored on the device.

The Hungarian Data Protection Supervisor has issued a statement classifying an employee's internet browsing history and habits (which sites are visited and how often) as personal data. Thus an employer is not permitted to monitor or analyse an employee's browsing habits and history if private use is allowed. But if the employer issued the devices and internet access strictly for work purposes and specified this, then the employer may access and analyse an employee's browsing history and habits. Such surveillance and analysis, however, requires the employer to give an employee advance notification about possible monitoring and how this will be conducted. If the employer does not provide specific information on whether the internet may be used for work only or for private purposes as well, monitoring is not allowed. If the employer proceeds to do so nevertheless, the employer is violating data management rules.

Employers should notify all employees in writing of a company's internal regulations regarding employee internet usage. This should be in the form of a unilateral legal statement specifying the employer's right to monitor usage. Internal guidelines can also serve to protect the interest of employees by making them aware of the conditions surrounding internet usage and the fact that their usage will be monitored.

However, the mere existence of an internal regulation is not sufficient to allow an employer to legally monitor employee internet usage. Data-protection-wise, the accepted procedure is to send the internal regulation to all concerned, who shall then prove their acceptance and acknowledgement of the regulation by, for example, signing an acknowledgement form. The internal regulation may also be acknowledged and accepted by signing an employment contract if this statement is included in the contract.

Monitoring Employee Email Accounts

In reference to employee email accounts, a distinction must be made between whether or not an employer has specifically stated that corporate email accounts are solely for work use or not. Preliminary information regarding the details of the possible monitoring is required. Internal regulations on the use of corporate e-mail accounts may also be communicated and confirmed through the signing of a corporate statement or an employment agreement.

Another issue related to the monitoring of e-mail accounts is whether the e-mail address includes the employee's name (even a part of the name) and whether it may only be accessed by the concerned employee or others too. Employers are entitled to inspect and monitor corporate e-mail accounts at will when the account is used to manage general company issues and does not consist of a specific employee's name and is accessible to more than one employee (such as addresses).

The Hungarian Data Protection Supervisor places corporate account email communications using name-specific accounts into two different categories. One category involves e-mails among employees and the second involves employee communications with parties outside the corporation. While employees know that e-mail communication may be checked by the employer, third party recipients are not only not aware of this fact, but have also not given their consent for this to happen. Therefore employer control power on e-mail correspondence with non-employees is restricted, even if the e-mail account is provided strictly for work purposes and preliminary information on monitoring was given to the employee. In such cases the control power is limited by the other party's personal data protection rights.

If an employer has informed an employee of possible monitoring, the employer may request that an employee provide received and/or sent e-mails in printed form. The employer may also request the employee provide specific e-mails based on the e-mail headline (sender, recipient, subject, date).

The employee, however, may refuse to comply with this request on the basis of the confidentiality rights of the third party. However, if the e-mail account has solely been provided for work purposes and the e-mails have originated from the employee, then the employer may impose labour law sanctions against the employee for not fulfilling the request.

If the third party is in a legal relationship with the employer, the employee may not refuse to abide with the request on the basis of confidentiality rules. Parties in a legal relationship are allowed to access relevant data, and therefore are entitled to view emails containing such data. Therefore, an employer has the right to monitor email correspondence with a contractual partner. However, standard professional courtesy would be to include a line about such data processing regulations as part of the footer in email correspondences.

One group that is entitled to check communications is the computer administrator (system administrator, IT personnel, etc.) by checking the content of e-mail traffic in order protect computer systems and data. The computer administrator however shall not provide any information about the e-mails or browsing history to any third parties, including the employer.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions