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Life after work: privacy and dismissal

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This article addresses the issue of termination of employment because of the conduct of the employee in her leisure time, in the light of the human right to private life. It explores the impact on the retention of employment of activities taking place outside the workplace and outside working hours, and argues that the approach of domestic courts and tribunals on the matter, which is based on a spatial conceptualisation of privacy, is flawed. Having analysed the reasons why the current interpretation of privacy is wanting, the paper suggest a fresh approach, which rests on the idea of domination that the employer can exercise on the employee. The paper's proposition is based on an interpretation of the right to privacy as a right to control information, rather than a right to act in spatial isolation. It argues that life after work may lead to lawful dismissal only if there is a clear and present impact or a high likelihood of such impact on employment, whilst a speculative and marginal danger does not suffice.

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