Restrictions in the Workplace
Restrictions on the use of electronic devices and the internet for personal purposes in the workplace are allowed, with the understanding that such faculty is under the scope of the subordination power of the employer. The Constitutional Court considers that the legislation and the case law allow the employer to not only limit the use of social media and electronic devices in the workplace, but also to exercise control to verify this situation, in accordance with the principle of reasonability and proportionality. In addition to this, the 1581 Act of 2012 establishes general restrictions for the use and administration of data bases including information regarding employees.
Can the employer restrict the employee’s use of Internet and social media during working hours?
The employer can monitor and access the employee’s electronic communications or any other application as long as they are related to the employee’s position or the electronic mail and/or application is provided by the employer as a working tool. Any control on the employee’s electronic communications must attend to the principle of reasonability and proportionality, in order to avoid a possible breach of the employee’s intimacy.
Employee’s use of social media to disparage the employer or divulge confidential information
There is also no specific provision in Colombia regarding this matter. However, the case law has understood that while social media is part of the employee’s intimacy circle, and therefore cannot be monitored by the employer, there are some actions that may cause harm to the employer through social media. The use of social media to disparage the employer or to divulge confidential information about the company may cause damages to his public image and his interests, which then allows him to initiate disciplinary measures as a consequence of this situation.
In any case, the divulgation of confidential information by the employee is considered by Colombian labour law as an express prohibition and can lead eventually to the possibility to terminate the employment contract by the employer, alleging a fair cause.