The Himsworths Legal bimonthly – January 2016Posted on
After a brief hiatus over the Christmas period our bimonthly is back for 2016 …..
BOSS CAN SNOOP AT YOUR PRIVATE EMAILS …. except they can’t, really
There were some alarming headlines in the media following a European Court of Human Rights ruling in Bărbulescu v Romania this month. The Sun seemed pretty clear when they told readers that employers can now “snoop at your private emails”. Of course, this isn’t what the judgment says. The case involved Bogdan Bărbulescu’s fallout with his employer – who had a strict policy of no personal use of their internet facilities. Mr Bărbulescu told his employer that he had never used the firm’s internet for personal use and that all emails sent from his private email address were work-related. They checked. The case is unique to its facts. Cases in the ECHR must be taken into account by UK courts but Mr Bărbulescu’s case is so particular that it is difficult to envisage many occasions upon which an employer will be permitted to do anything which could be described as “snooping”. So it’s pretty much as you were.
A very modern Christmas carol
Twas the night before Christmas (well, it was about 3pm on Christmas Eve) as an email came into our inbox from a client (representing a Premier League football player). It was a familiar modern tale: the Soccer Bible (a part of the Lad Bible online empire) had published an article that day claiming to contain the player’s “embarrassing Facebook posts from 2011”. The problem was – the posts had nothing to do with the player.
The article started by stating that the posts “had been found” (yes, indeed, these successful online media channels employ people to dredge social media sites for content, even if it means going back to 2011) and went on to compare the posts to Jamie Vardy’s 2011 offerings (which went viral and was reported across the internet and has even led to unofficial merchandise). The client’s annoyance on this occasion was not that he’d embarrassed himself. It was that the posts came from a fake Facebook account that had nothing to do with him. Upon review there were at least 6 fake pages on Facebook in his name.
To their credit the Sport Bible corrected their story: “We have now been informed that these posts were not done by [the player] and that they were done by an impersonator. We have since sent an apology to him”.
It’s very much a sign of the times that influential (and unregulated and inexperienced) online media companies are trawling the internet, and particularly social media, for content. The content is posted quickly and often goes viral even more quickly. Unsourced rumours and allegations can swiftly become accepted truths. Publications such as the Soccer and Lad Bible must take care though because, in the words of Jamie Vardy – “chat sh*t, get banged” …. or something like that.
Communicating the millennial way
We were recently asked by a sporting organisation that we work with to give our views on millennials and the way that they communicate.
Whilst the firm works with established professionals who are not quite in the millennial bracket, our work with Academies and Elite Development Squads means that we work very regularly with young men and women born in the 1990s (gulp!). From the accepted definitions we have seen the birth year for “millennials” varies from the 1980s to early 2000s and therefore the young players we work with are, I guess, “late millennials”. Our thoughts on how “the kids” communicate can be read here.