Dutch court: company allowed to read e-mails of employee

Adata Europe is in the Dutch news today as the Amsterdam based subsidiary of  Adata searched the laptop of a summarily dismissed employee.  Adata might ring a bell to Myce visitors as the company sells products like SSDs, flash memory cards, USB sticks, external HDDs and DRAM modules.

ADATA S596 Turbo

The man worked at Adata Europe since June 2012 and had a salary of nearly $9200 a month. In return the employee disobeyed rules and instructions from the Taiwanese headquarters,  failed to meet sales targets, applied several false business trips and tried to sell product of his own company to Adata customers.

When the man was fired, he had to return his laptop to Adata and once the company noticed he deleted all data from his laptop, they became suspicious. Experts were able to retrieve the data and found Skype messages revealing how the man was negative, sexist and racist about his colleagues.

Also  emails, text messages and Whatsapp messages to colleagues were used as proof in the case.  In one case the employed sent an image of a bull penetrating a cow with the text “I have found an image that explain well the feeling and situation working for adata… I will send you, and remember that you are the cow in that picture and the bull is adata [sic].”

In a Skype conversation the employee wrote, “yes, its a fantastic day cause i am about to throw soe chinese out of the window [sic].”

The court ruled Adata had enough reasons to search the laptop based on the Whatsapp conversations provided by colleagues. Also the information the company received about the employee promoting his own business during his work hours at company was a good reason for further investigation. According to the court, the company had a strong interest in the data and has no other way of verifying the data it previously received from colleagues and therefore ruled in favor of Adata.

The legal battle between the employee is not over yet, whether the dismissal of the employee was justified, should be answered in proceeding. The dismissal shall not be suspended, as the employee demanded.