The boundaries of freedom of expression in labor relations: Russian practice in the context of decisions of the European Court of Human Rights

Available in Russian

Author: Larisa Zaitseva

DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2019-4-87-102

Keywords: criticism of the employer by the employee; freedom of expression; internal policies and procedures of the employer; labor contract; labor disputes; protection of labor rights and freedoms


The problem of implementation of the freedom of expression in labor relations is examined in accordance with the principles which are enshrined in Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The aim of the study is to identify current trends in the protection and restriction of the freedom of expression by employees in the presence of subordination and confidentiality in labor relations. The author completed the following tasks: the characterized traditions of ensuring and restricting the freedom of expression in labor relations in foreign legal systems; examined and summarized the arguments in the ECtHR decisions on the permissibility of expressing critical opinions against the employer; described modern Russian practices of restricting and protecting freedom of expression by an employee; the connection between the Russian judicial practice and the practice of the ECtHR was revealed. The main research methods are the comparative method, the method of expert assess- ments, the analysis of materials of judicial practice of the ECtHR and Russian courts. As a result, the author arrives at the following conclusion: the practice of some Russian employers is unlawful since it restricts the freedom of expression of an employee’s opinion beyond the boundaries defined by the legislation. The author also concludes that the Russian judicial practice adopted the jurisprudence of the ECtHR on complaints of violation of Article 10 of the Convention. Decisions of the ECtHR, recent European legal studies, and the gradually changing practice of European courts testify to the fact that workers expand the sphere of their freedom of expression through establishing the social significance of criticism and determining the limits of acceptable state intervention. The lag in the legal regulation of the specifi fi in Russia is explained by the lack of an integrated system of the legal protection of personal non-property rights of workers. The problem of illegal restriction of freedom of speech in labor relations can be solved only in conjunction with the solution of the systemic problems and by changing the priorities in the legal policies of the State. At the moment, it seems necessary to publish an offi compilation of the case-law in this field . The author also considers it necessary that the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation adopts guidelines for the protection of freedom of expression of an employee’s opinion in labor relations.

About the author: Larisa Zaitseva – Doctor of Sciences in Law; Associate Professor, Head of the Department of Labor Law and Entrepreneurship, Tyumen State University, Tyumen, Russia.

Citation: Zaitseva L. (2019) Granitsy svobody vyrazheniya mneniya v trudovykh otnosheniyakh: rossiyskaya praktika v kontekste resheniy Evropeyskogo Suda po pravam cheloveka [The boundaries of freedom of expression in labor relations: Russian practice in the context of decisions of the European Court  of Human Rights]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 87–102. (In Russian).