Official-Use Emails Off Limits for Employers in Estonia

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The Data Protection Inspectorate enforced a mandate, prohibiting employers from reading their employees' work-related emails without consent, and the agency now requires candidate workers to be informed before a background check is conducted.

In Finland, even internet searches made with the intent of checking an employee's or jobseeker's background is illegal, the data protection agency's director general, Viljar Peep, told Postimees. "[In Estonia] use of search engines is allowed, but the employee needs to be informed that those data are being collected of him because internet searches can lead to misleading information. The employee and the job searcher need to be informed of the public information search and be given a chance to disprove it," said Peep.

Regarding public information, an employee in Estonia has the right to know what information has been gathered and where it comes from. In general, an employer only has the right to information that is work-related. A potential employee's health, drug-use and private life are off limits during the hiring process.

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