Bosses can spy on staff on Facebook: court

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An Italian boss created a fake Facebook account of a woman to “lure” an employee away from work. Photo: Maria Elena/Flickr
13:03 CEST+02:00
An Italian boss who created a fake Facebook account in order to catch out an employee who was using the social networking site at work was not breaking the law, Italy's top court has ruled.

The employee in question, who worked at a printing works in Abruzzo, central Italy, was fired for chatting on Facebook Messenger, an app used for conversations on Facebook, when he was supposed to be working. 

He was caught out after his boss created the fake Facebook account of a woman to “lure” him away from work to chat for 15 minutes, La Stampa reported.

As a result, the employee failed to intervene “promptly” when a sheet of paper became jammed in the printing press.
In the days following the incident the worker continued to send messages on the social networking site.

This week Italy’s Court of Cassation upheld the decision to dismiss the employee, ruling that the boss was acting within his rights to set up the fake profile because it concerned “the check of continuous illegal behaviour on the part of the employee”, already observed in the past.

The court also ruled that the locating of employees through Facebook access from their mobile is also permitted.

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This isn't the first time an employee in Italy has lost their job for their activities on the Facebook app. 

In April a priest in southern Italy was defrocked for allegedly making gay sexual advances to a man on Facebook.

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