Social Media and Data Privacy in Belgium

1. Can the employer restrict the employee’s use of Internet and social media during working hours?

Subject to compliance with legal, regulatory and contractual provisions, employers are free to determine the conditions in which the employment contract is to be performed. Nowadays, it is undisputed that this includes the conditions of use of equipment made available to employees by the employer.

Employers can therefore freely regulate the use of communication instruments within their company, particularly by prohibiting private use of the communication equipment available for use by the employees, by banning the access to certain websites (including social media sites) or by blocking this access by the use of filters.

2. Employee’s use of social media to disparage the employer or divulge confidential information

An employee who disparages the employer via social media can be dismissed for serious cause when the statutory requirements are met. However, as always in case of serious case, the precise circumstances and the possible aggravating or alleviating circumstances should be taken into account.

Furthermore, it is advisable to adopt clear guidelines in the company with rules on who can speak on behalf of the company via social media, both for professional and personal accounts, and what types of information may be divulged.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Belgium, please contact Chris Van Olmen, Partner at Van Olmen & Wynant ( at
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