Rb. Overijssel - 9965129 \ CV EXPL 22-2279
|Rb. Overijssel - 9965129 \ CV EXPL 22-2279|
|Court:||Rb. Overijssel (Netherlands)|
|Relevant Law:||Article 4(1) GDPR|
Article 17 GDPR
|Parties:||Stichting Eega Plus|
|National Case Number/Name:||9965129 \ CV EXPL 22-2279|
|European Case Law Identifier:||ECLI:NL:RBOVE:2022:2365|
|Appeal to:||Not appealed|
|Original Source:||Rechtspraak (in Dutch)|
|Initial Contributor:||Eva Lu|
The Dutch District Court of Overijssel held that a former employee had the right to oversee the erasure of her personal data from her work laptop before returning it and her former employer had the right to restrict her access to the laptop, as it contained personal data that she was no longer authorised to access.
English Summary[edit | edit source]
Facts[edit | edit source]
The data subject used to work for Eega (controller), a company that guides disabled people towards employment. After termination of the data subject's employment, her employer restricted her access to the laptop as it was still in the data subject's possession.
The controller filed a claim in interim relief proceedings demanding the return of the laptop. The data subject did not object to the laptop being returned. However she wanted to delete her personal data from the laptop first and invoked her right to privacy. The data subject filed a counterclaim to demand that she would be given the chance to erase her personal data from the laptop.
The controller did not consider this a reasonable demand because (1) the laptop was meant for work-related purposes only (so not for storing personal information). In addition, (2) access to the laptop would give the data subject unauthorised access to its confidential work environment. The controller thus also invoked its right to protection of privacy-sensitive information.
Holding[edit | edit source]
The District Court of Overijssel (Rechtbank Overijssel - Rb. Overijssel) concluded that both claims were partly justified.
The controller’s claim was not fully justified, as the controller did not dispute that the laptop contained personal data of the data subject. The fact that the data subject was not allowed to put these data on the laptop was irrelevant. It was still personal data within the meaning of the GDPR and therefore protected by this Regulation.
The data subject’s counterclaim was not fully justified, as granting her access to the laptop would give her access to the controller’s digital work-environment. This contained personal data for which the controller was responsible (other employees, clients).
The Court held that the solution must be found in the middle. The Court proposed that laptop would be taken to the controller. Someone other than the data subject or the controller could then erase the data subject's personal data from the laptop. The data subject may be present during this process.
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English Machine Translation of the Decision[edit | edit source]
The decision below is a machine translation of the Dutch original. Please refer to the Dutch original for more details.
COURT OVERIJSSEL Team canton and commercial law Seating place Zwolle Case number : 9965129 \ CV EXPL 22-2279 PROCEDURE REPORT of the session of the subdistrict court held in Zwolle on 18 July 2022 in the summary proceedings of: the EEGA PLUS FOUNDATION, with its registered office and principal place of business in Deventer, claimant, hereinafter referred to as Eega, authorized representative: mr. H. den Besten against [defendant] , residing at [residence] , the defendant, hereinafter referred to as [defendant], authorized representative: mr. E. Baldan Kaya The oral hearing took place on 18 July 2022. Nowadays: - mr. A.M. Koene, district judge - drs. A. Panjer-Hartman, clerk After the case was declared: - Eega, represented by [A] (director/director of the foundation) and [B] (operational director), assisted by mr. den Besten; - [defendant] , in person, assisted by mr. Baldan Kaya. The Subdistrict Court determines that both parties have appeared. After the oral hearing, the subdistrict court judge delivered an oral decision at the hearing. 1 The decision in summary proceedings The subdistrict court judge: In convention and in counterclaim 1.1. orders the parties to cooperate with the hard disk of the laptop being erased within four weeks of today at the offices of Eega by an IT employee of Eega in the presence of [defendant]; 1.2. orders [defendant] to then leave the laptop with accessories (mouse and battery charger) at Eega; 1.3. declares these orders provisionally enforceable; 1.4. determines that each party bears its own costs; 1.5. rejects what has been advanced more or otherwise. 2 The grounds of the decision In convention and in counterclaim 2.1. There was an employment contract between Eega as employer and [defendant] as employee and that employment contract has since been terminated. [defendant] has received a laptop on loan from Eega for that employment. She still has that laptop. Eega has blocked access to the laptop. 2.2. Eega wants the laptop back and has filed a claim (the claim in the main proceedings) for this purpose in summary proceedings. Eega demands that the laptop be handed over on pain of a penalty. [defendant] does not oppose returning the device, but she first wants access to the laptop in order to be able to delete her own data. She invokes privacy with regard to that data. In this connection, [defendant] has filed a counterclaim (a counterclaim) to enforce, on pain of a penalty, that she is given the opportunity to remove her private data from the laptop. 2.3. Eega does not consider the latter a reasonable requirement for the following reasons. Firstly, Eega argues that the laptop could only be used for business purposes and that the laptop was therefore not intended for storing private data. Secondly, Eega argues that access to the laptop also means access to her confidential business environment. In that respect, Eega also appeals to the protection of privacy-sensitive information. 2.4. Both parties have upheld their claims and are seeking judgment. 2.5. The subdistrict court judge comes to the conclusion that the lesser of the claims can be awarded in both the main action and the counterclaim. This means that both parties are partly in the right. This judgment is based on the motivation below. 2.6. Eega's claim cannot be fully granted, because Eega has not disputed that privacy-sensitive data of [defendant] is located on the laptop. The fact that [defendant] may not have been allowed to put this information on it does not change that. The data is on the laptop and it is privacy-sensitive data within the meaning of the GDPR. [Defendant] therefore has a point when she says that these may not be made available to the former employer. 2.7. On the other hand, the counterclaim of [defendant] is also not fully allowable. That is because granting access to the laptop would mean that [defendant] gains access to Eega's digital business environment. And that can lead to her gaining access to Eega company data that are privacy sensitive within the meaning of the GDPR and for which Eega is responsible. 2.8. The Subdistrict Court is therefore of the opinion that the solution lies in the middle. That solution boils down to the practical proposal that [A] made during the oral hearing, shortly before the suspension, and which was also accepted by [defendant]. That proposal means that the laptop is brought to Eega and that the laptop is cleaned there by someone from Eega, who is not [A] or [B], so that the confidential data of [defendant] is removed. [defendant] may be present. 2.9. This means that both parties are in the right (or, as you prefer: wrong) and this means that each party bears its own costs (compensation of costs). Moreover, the subdistrict court was unable to establish that the fact that the parties have become involved in the present preliminary relief proceedings is mainly due to one or the other. This oral statement was made by mr. A.M. Koene, Subdistrict Court, and pronounced in public on July 18, 2022. of which official report, the cantonal judge