Question 19: During the employment under LCs, may Employers arrange for Employees to sit anywhere at the workplace and not provide working tools (e.g. computers, telephones) to perform the assigned jobs in LCs? If computers are provided, may Employers block Employees from access to the enterprises’ servers, prevent them from receiving or sending emails from their business email addresses, and not allow them to use the internet to search information for their work?

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May Employers arrange for Employees to sit anywhere at the workplace?

Labour law stipulates that Employers may recruit, arrange and managing Employees according to the business and production demands; reward and discipline Employees[1]. Accordingly, the arrangement is construed as assigning Employees into specialized departments or teams in line with the enterprise’s structure and Employees’ job descriptions, creating conditions for Employers to use and manage Employees the most efficient way. Therefore, during the employment under LCs, Employers may arrange and specify working positions for Employees anywhere at the workplace as well as change the working positions anytime that they deem necessary, provided that the working positions are clean and spacious enough to perform the assigned jobs.

  • May Employers not provide working tools (e.g. computers) for Employees to perform the assigned jobs in LCs? If computers are provided, may Employers block Employees from access to the enterprises’ servers, prevent them receiving from or sending emails from their business email addresses, and not allow them to use the internet to search information for their work?

In practice, in service enterprises such as banks or insurance companies employing office staff, when Employers and Employees are in a conflict, Employers tend to take computers back from Employees, or let them keep the computers but block them from access to the enterprises’ servers, prevent them from receiving or sending emails and blocking the internet for the purpose of protecting the enterprises’ business operations from potential harmful acts by Employees.

Concerning the provision of working tools, this is not an item that must be included in an LC[2]. In practice, there are certain positions or jobs that can only be done with the assistance of working tools. For instance, office staff (programmers, accountants etc.) need to have computers as working tools to perform their professional duties; drivers need to have cars as working tools to transport the goods. Therefore, upon entering into LCs with Employees, Employers often anticipate this issue and specify in LCs the tools that will be provided for Employees. Accordingly, if Employers take back the working tools that have been provided for Employees, there may be a legal risk that they have violated their obligations to execute LCs as prescribed by the Labor Code.

From the perspective of civil matters, the enterprises’ servers as well as Employees’ business email addresses are the Employers’ property. So, it is entirely the Employer’s decision about whether to let Employees use the above properties or keep them connected to the internet. In general, the protection of enterprises’ business operations from Employees’ harmful acts under this option is better than the option of not providing working tools for Employees as mentioned above. It is because the Employers’ underground intervention will not make the employment relationship between them and Employees become intense[MRK1] , while the enterprises’ business operations is better protected from potential harm caused by Employees.

[1]Article 6.1 (a) Labor Code

[2]Article 23 Labor Code and Article 4 Decree 05/2015/NĐ-CP