Limits to the use of private investigators for monitoring employees who work outside the company

Plurijus 2019
Case reviewed by Marina Olgiati
Court of Florence, 18 January 2019, n. 51
The case examined by the Court concerned the dismissal of an employee who carried out his job mainly outside the company. He was under no obligation to certify his presence through clocking in and out, instead certi?ed his professional service through reports he compiled. The company contested the falsi?cation of the reports, having ascertained that the visits indicated therein did not correspond to the real ones. This veri?cation was effectuated by investigators – appointed by the company to monitor the employee’s movements during working hours. They ascertained that during work time he also carried out activities of a private nature. The Court held that the dishonest compilation of the reports constituted the legitimacy of the dismissal and existence of just cause. According to the decision, the behavior of the worker was a serious violation of the obligations of ?delity, decency and good faith. The legitimacy of the use of the investigators’ reports in these matters cannot concern the ful?llment or the non ful?llment of the work performance, but must be limited to the unlawful acts of the worker even where there is only suspicion. In the case in question, the fact upon which the dismissal was founded is constituted by the false compilation of the reports, which is an illegal act also relevant criminally.The employer’s recourse to the investigators was considered justi?ed because the purpose of the “control” was not fraudulent conduct of the source as there was also damage for the employer.

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