The decision taken by the Constitutional Court, dated 21/9/2022 and application number 2019/25604, published in the Official Gazette today, will set a precedent for the use of technological devices provided to employees by the employer. Because the Constitutional Court evaluated the employer’s reading of WhatsApp messages as a violation of rights.
The Constitutional Court considered WhatsApp messages as freedom of communication!
Millions of people working in the private sector use technological products such as smartphones, computers and tablets provided by their companies. They are very careful about the personal data on these devices.
For example, it is recommended that you do not keep personal files and data that do not have a backup on a company-supplied computer. Because, due to a minor update or system vulnerability, your data may be exposed or deleted during the intervention of the relevant employees.
But there is also the right to respect for private life and the freedom of communication. The WhatsApp decision taken by the Constitutional Court also sets a precedent in this regard. Because with the decision dated 21/9/2022 and application number 2019/25604, the employer who read the messages of the employee was found guilty.
When we look at the details of the decision, we see that the subject of the case that reached the Constitutional Court is different from the result. The contract of a private company employee is terminated and dismissed. It is reported that the reason is seen in the examination and messaging of the phone given to this person.
The dismissed person loses by first filing a lawsuit claiming that the termination was unfair. However, he later went to the Constitutional Court and made an individual application on the grounds that his right to respect for private life and freedom of communication were violated.
In his statement, he says that the employment contract was terminated unjustly, a copy of the messaging content on which the termination was based was not included in the termination notice, that the correspondence was fictitious, that the phone lines provided by the company were also used in the private lives of the employees, and that these correspondences should be protected as personal data.
As a result, the Constitutional Court took a decision that the process of controlling the communication and processing personal data should be carried out in a transparent manner, and accordingly, the employer should inform the employees about the process in advance. It was also said that no limitation or interference should be allowed beyond the purpose.