Unions, employers reach deal on workplace computer use

The Histadrut Labor Federation and the Manufacturers Association of Israel signed a collective agreement in Tel Aviv Wednesday on the rights of private sector workers to use personal computers on the job. Under the agreement, employees may use their personal computers while working, even if that use is not related to the employee's job. The agreement stipulates, however, that the computer use must be for a reasonable amount of time and that individual employers may create workplace bylaws further restricting computer use, although those laws may not relate to the employees' personal business on the computer. The agreement also gives employers limited powers to inspect employees' computers, although they may not inspect workers' personal e-mail accounts without their consent. Negotiations on the agreement began after a worker sued her employee for the right to check her e-mail during work. Although she lost the case, the incident brought the issue to the fore. "Whoever is interested in this subject will be persuaded by the agreement that the two sides have come to a desirable arrangement," said Shraga Brosh, the chairman of the coordinating council. "It is the most balanced, and it has the highest chance of being enforced."