A Dutch court has dealt a major blow to corporate surveillance, ruling it is a human rights violation to force employees to keep their webcams on.
According to TechCrunch, the issue stems with a Florida-based company called Chetu. The company hired a telemarketer based in the Netherlands and demanded the individual leave their webcam on during working hours.
“I don’t feel comfortable being monitored for 9 hours a day by a camera. This is an invasion of my privacy and makes me feel really uncomfortable. That is the reason why my camera is not on,” the employee said, according to court documents. “You can already monitor all activities on my laptop and I am sharing my screen.”
Chetu fired the employee in response to their complaint, leading the employee to sue the company. Chetu was ordered to pay the employee’s court fees, back wages, unused vacation days, and a $50,000 fine. The company was also ordered to release the employee from a non-compete clause.
The case should serve as a warning for US companies doing business and hiring employees overseas. Regardless of how lax employment laws may be in some parts of the US, other jurisdictions often have far more employee-friendly regulations.