Russia: Employee Privacy at the Workplace

Employee surveillance, especially in the context of monitoring employees' electronic communications, is becoming a hot topic in Russia. Many local and global companies operating in Russia are considering their options for protecting company assets while observing privacy rights of employees. This creates a requirement to have an understanding of the employee privacy requirements set out by Russian law. Generally, Russian law does not set out any specific requirements with respect to monitoring employees' e-mails sent from their corporate e-mail address. Nevertheless, the Russian Constitution guarantees to all individuals rights for private life and privacy of correspondence that shall not be infringed by an employer.

Because the law contains no express exception, and courts have not weigned in on the issue, there is a diversity of opinions whether the above described general principle on monitoring employees' private e-mails must apply to monitoring of e-mails kept on the computer of the company. Most common opinions are the following:

  • There is an opinion that the general principle must apply to these situations and monitoring employees' private e-mails even if they are sent from the corporate e-mail address may be considered as an infringement of Russian law;
  • Another opinion is that the employer can monitor the contents of its computers provided that the employer: (i) properly informed employees that its computers can be used only for business purposes and that use of corporate e-mail for private purposes is prohibited; (ii) properly informed employees that the employer monitors or can monitor employees' e-mails, including private e-mails. "Properly inform" in this context would mean that this information is included either in the employment contract or in the internal rules, and that the employees familiarized themselves with the information, providing written acknowledgment of their receipt and understanding thereof.
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–°riminal Cases are Initiated in Connection with Unjustified Refusal in Russia

According to Russian employment legislation, unjustified refusal may lead to criminal liability for the employer. The press centre of Investigation Committee of the Prosecution Office (SKP) of the Russian Federation informed, two criminal cases had been initiated in connection with unjustified refusal to hire pregnant women.

The Limited Liability Company "Nata" refused to hire candidates who applied for the vacant position of manager upon recommendation of the State Employment Centre. The motive for refusal was pregnancy of candidates. The cases were initiated in the Vologodskiy region in connection with material elements of offence stipulated by article 145 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (unjustified refusal to hire).

Formal prosecution for such grounds is quite rare, so the cases are in the highlight of Russian media.

Liability for Breach of Industrial Safety Requirements is Intensified

Effective January 1, 2011, the administrative liability for organizations having dangerous production facilities, and officers of these organizations for breach of industrial safety requirements, will be intensified. The fines for offenses in this sphere will be raised significantly (10 times and even more) for organizations and their officers. 

For further information about this development, please continue reading ALRUD's newsletter (pdf).

Is it Lawful to Dismiss a Chief Accountant When Changing the Owner of the Company Assets?

In its recent ruling of May 27, 2010, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation stipulated that it is lawful to dismiss the chief accountant in case the owner of the company assets is changed.

This ruling has been issued by the Constitutional Court in view of consideration of Mrs. Bachalova's appeal regarding violation of her constitutional rights by part 1 of article 75 and paragraph 4 of part 1 of article 81of the Russian Labor Code.

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Russian Government Considers the Draft Federal Law Regarding ILO Paid Leaves Convention

The draft federal law "On ratification of the Convention N 132 "On paid leaves" of the International Labor Organization" is now under consideration of the Government of the Russian Federation.

The Convention was adopted on June 24, 1970 and stipulates the main rights of individuals on guaranteed annual paid leave. According to the provisions of the Convention, each member of the International Labor Organization upon its ratification is obliged to establish a minimal term of paid annual leave as well as the categories of employees it shall apply to. Therefore the draft federal law on ratification of the Convention envisages that the guaranteed annual paid leave in Russia comprises 28 calendar days and is applicable to the employees both of agricultural and non-agricultural economic sectors.

The currently effective legislation of the Russian Federation complies with the Convention. But the Government intends to ratify it in order to constitute Russian legislation basing on universally recognized norms of labor law which serve as the basis for all national labor laws.

Amendments to the Legislation Concerning Foreign Citizens

On July 1, 2010 amendments to the federal law "On legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation" came into force. These amendments are aimed at facilitation of migration rules for certain categories of employees and at improvement of investment climate in Russia.

For detailed information about the amendments to Russia legislation on foreign citizens, please continue reading ALRUD's newsletter (pdf) "Amendments to legislation on foreign citizens."

Tags: Migration

Government of the Russian Federation Approves Amendments Stipulating Liability of the Host Party for Foreign Employees

The Government of the Russian Federation approved the draft bill on amendments to the Code on administrative offenses of the Russian Federation and federal law "On legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation."

Continue reading ALRUD's newsletter (pdf) "Government of the Russian Federation approved the amendments stipulating liability of the host party for foreign employee."

Tags: Migration

Russia Improves its Investment Climate

Russia is strongly aimed at improvement of its attractiveness for investors. Recently the Ministry for Economic Development of the Russian Federation presented its proposals where the main areas for development are tax regulation, administrative procedures, customs administration, investment support, and optimization of infrastructure access procedures. Notably, the utmost position is allotted for simplification of the migration regime.

Please continue reading about this development in ALRUD's newsletter (pdf) on improvement of the investment climate in Russia and unofficial translation (pdf) of the Presentation of the Ministry for Economic Development of the Russian Federation on measures to improve the investment climate.

How to Resist the Illegal Actions of Employees at Dismissal

The last few years of the economic growth in Russia encouraged employers to hire more and more employees. But the world financial crisis has significantly changed the situation. Many employers have needed to dismiss employees because of the global cutback of economic activity. Employees at dismissal frequently perform illegal acts in order to avoid dismissal or in order to be dismissed on attractive terms. Continue reading ALRUD's article How to Resist the Illegal Actions of Employees at Dismissal (pdf) for some examples of illegal actions of employees at dismissal in Russia and discourse on the ways employers in Russia can resist these illegal actions and protect themselves.

ALRUD's discussion first appeared in Executive View's "Labour & Employment 2009 Digital Guide."

Golden Parachutes

The problem of "golden parachutes" is very interesting and complicated, especially in connection with labour relations in Russia. At the time of the world financial crisis this problem becomes more crucial than ever before. Due to the lack of financial resources in the market, employers rarely conclude agreements with the clause of golden parachutes and even if they do so the amount of the parachutes is significantly less than before the crisis.

Golden parachutes are also of great interest now because some large judicial trials concerning these provisions occurred recently. Continue reading ALRUD's Golden Parachutes in Russia (pdf) for a discussion of these judicial trials along with a description of the main provisions of golden parachutes.

ALRUD's discussion first appeared in Executive View's "Labour & Employment 2009 Digital Guide."