1. Can the employer restrict the employee’s use of Internet and social media during working hours?
No specific French employment law provisions currently address issues raised by employees’ social media use. Then, employers can set out the general conditions of use and restrict access to the Internet in the workplace but they have to be cautious as all employees have a right to privacy, even at the workplace during working time (article L. 1121-1 of the French Labour Code).
Article L.2323-47 of the French Labour Code provides that the company’s Works Council, if any, must be informed and consulted prior to the implementation of any means aimed at monitoring or controlling the employees’ activities.
2. Employee’s use of social media to disparage the employer or divulge confidential information
Concerning denigration, the issue regarding whether comments made on Facebook are public or private was recently considered by the French Supreme Court). From this case law, a comment on a social media may be considered private or public depending on the privacy settings of the relevant account. The more accessible a comment is, the more likely it will be deemed public and punishable, as the case may be.