On the 2nd of May 2016 a draft law was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament, which aims at “regulating digital platforms for the sharing of goods and services”, and at “promoting an economy based on mutual sharing”. The purpose is to regulate the so-called sharing economy through an across-the-board approach to different professional areas.
Italy would be the first country to regulate this booming economic sector, which includes such by now notorious services as Uber (now prohibited in Italy) and AirBnB.
The draft text is the result of eighteen months’ work carried out by the Parliamentary Intergroup for Technological Innovation. Article 1 lays down the law’s objectives, while Article 2 clarifies the definition of “sharing economy”, establishing that services for which providers determine a fixed charge are not to be included. Article 3 calls for sharing platforms to register with a national electronic register kept by the Italian Antitrust Authority. With the creation of an electronic register, platforms will have to obtain the approval of the Authority, whose task it will be to evaluate inconsistencies and possible infringements (or acts of unfair competition against the traditional sectors).
However, it is principally the fiscal aspect, which the draft law aims to regulate. The new regulation provides for 10% taxation on the revenue generated by platforms, up to a maximum of 10,000€ per year, which can also comprise sums for different services. The obligation for payment of the taxes would lie with the platforms themselves, which would be required to withhold the amounts due from the takings of registered customers, thus acting as withholding agents. On exceeding the threshold of 10,000€, the income made by platforms will be considered as actual earnings, to be added to those already made. New rules have also been provided for payments, which must henceforth only be carried out by digital means.
The signatories of the draft law expect this operation to raise tax revenue from 150 million € to 3 billion € by 2025.
The draft law has started its approval procedure at the Joint Parliamentary Commissions of Transport and Productive Activities.
According to the Court of Ivrea (Italy) insulting remarks directed against colleagues and superiors posted on Facebook are a sufficiently serious cause for justifying the dismissal of an employee.
With an injunction issued on the 28th January 2015, the Court of Ivrea rejected an appeal by a former employee asking to be reinstated at work following lawful dismissal for misconduct. The employee had been fired for posting seriously offensive comments on Facebook against his employers and some women colleagues.
While admitting to posting the offensive remarks on his Facebook account, the claimant had applied to the Court claiming that such conduct could not be considered sufficiently serious to justify his dismissal and in addition to reinstatement demanded damages.
This is the second procedure in which the employee has taken legal action to ask to be reinstated at work at the same company. The work relationship had already been terminated in 2012. However, certain contractual irregularities had prompted the man to file an appeal and at the end of 2012 the Court had accepted his request, annulling the terms of the fixed-term contract that he had stipulated with the company and condemning the latter to reinstating the claimant and in addition to the payment of all wages accrued.
Consequently, in 2014 the company had rehired the employee, but had decided to exempt him from effectively resuming work, thus the employee had begun to receive a salary without having to work.
Paradoxically this condition, which to some might seem advantageous, led the employee to libel his employers on Facebook. In fact the man published the letter of reinstatement on the social network, accompanying it with some highly insulting remarks against his superiors who had reinstated him and also against some women colleagues.
As the Ivrea Court judge stressed, the posts were not restricted to the “friends” of the claimant, but “could potentially have been seen by about a billion social network users” and were only removed after a cease and desist order on the part of the company. All these factors carried weight in the judge’s final decision, according to which the seriousness of the former employee’s misconduct is considered “severe enough to preclude even temporary continuation of the work relationship”.
In the judge’s decision it is explained that the insults, especially the sexist insults directed at the women colleagues, who were totally unconnected to the previous litigation between the employers and the employee, indicate “the will of the claimant to defame both the company and also some of its employees, in a manner which was potentially gravely damaging to their reputations”.
The claimant failed in his attempt to justify his behaviour as “a reaction, even though an excessive and abnormal (but instinctive) one”. The judge underlined that if it had been provoked by an instinctive gesture –although rash – the employee would have taken prompt action to eliminate the post and would not have waited more than two weeks to do so, as in fact happened. This lengthy period of time that the comments remained online also seems to suggest that the claimant had absolutely no perception of the serious nature of his misconduct.
In light of these considerations, the Court dismissed the claimant’s appeal and ordered him to pay the company’s legal costs, amounting to 3,500€.
This decision by the judge of the Court of Ivrea confirms the case law regarding lawful dismissal for misconduct for defamatory posts which offend employers, as already established by the Court of Appeal of Turin (judgment of 17th July 2014, n. 164) and the labour section of the Court of Milan (order of 1st August, 2014).
The Law Decree regarding “Prime disposizioni urgenti per l’economia” (Urgent First measures for the Economy), also called “Decreto-Sviluppo” (Development Decree), which was published in the Official Journal on May 13 and which led to much discussion of provisions concerning beach concessions, also contains several relevant amendments to the Privacy Code.
This Law Decree must be approved by parliament within 60 days of publication in the Official Gazzette, before it can be changed.
The following is a brief summary of the main changes:
Data regarding public and private bodies
The new art. 3-bis states that the processing of data regarding public and private bodies
in communications between such bodies and for administration and accountancy purposes is no longer subject to the application of the Privacy Code. So, this exemption will not include all data regarding private or public bodies but only data that matches all of the following criteria:
1) data concerning private or public bodies.
2) data used for communications between these bodies
3) data used for administrative and accountancy purposes
Therefore, as an example, invoicing data shared by companies for administrative purposes.
We would like to underline that EU Directive 46/95/EC applies only to data regarding individual persons and that in 1996 the Italian legislator made a different choice.
CVs of job seekers
CVs sent of their own free will by job seekers would no longer need to be given the information by data controllers. The information even in an unwritten form will only be required on the occasion of a first contact after CVs have been sent. In such cases, the consent of CVs senders would be no longer necessary, even if the CVs contained sensitive data.
Consent in relationships between companies
The consent to data communications between companies (in specific areas) for administrative and accountancy purposes will no longer be necessary.
Data controllers who handle as sensitive and judiciary data only that regarding their employees and collaborators and their partners and relatives will no longer be obliged to compile the document which is a particular security measure provided for by Italian law. Instead, they can present self-certification.
However we must bear in mind that self-certification also involves relevant consequences regarding responsibility according to the Criminal Code.
The Italian Privacy Authority could further simplify matters on the issue of security.
Administrative accountancy aims are precisely defined in new art. 34, sub. 1 ter.
Unwanted marketing communications
In the same way as for marketing calls, consent will no longer be necessary and the opt-out system with its register of opposition will also be extended to ordinary mail communications.