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29 January 2020
According to case law, the Italian regulatory system allows employers to appoint private investigators to verify unlawful conduct on the part of their employees. A recent Court of Padua decision (Decree 6031 of 4 October 2019) offers a useful overview of the circumstances in which this type of action is permitted.
As the court underlined, employers may use private investigators even when they have only a suspicion that unlawful conduct has taken place. However, investigations cannot concern an employee's performance of their work.
Case law recognises that private investigations are permitted in cases of unlawful conduct, including where:
Investigators must be engaged in writing and their assignment must concern a distinct number of workers.
Private investigators must use tools that are:
In the present case, the court established that the investigation itself had been the least invasive tool, as the employee did not work on the company's main premises, but rather in an ancillary office where he worked alone. Thus, no superior had been present to check for unlawful conduct (if any) in the normal supervisory manner.
In addition, the court reiterated that employers need not notify the employee prior to an investigation, re-affirming that in order to comply with European Court of Human Rights case law, the main consideration is the proportionality of the investigation as a whole.
For further information on this topic please contact Annamaria Pedroni or Simona Destefani at Stanchi Studio Legale by telephone (+39 02 546 9522) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Stanchi Studio Legale website can be accessed at www.stanchilaw.it.
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