Cabinet seeks to tighten Employee Data Privacy Protection

On August 25, the Cabinet passed a comprehensive bill amending the German Federal Data Privacy Protection Act. The bill now goes to the German Parliament. A brief overview follows, discussing the most important changes that in all probability will soon become mandatory federal law.

Video Surveillance

Surveillance of business premises primarily used by employees for matters that have to do with their own lives (sanitary facilities, changing rooms and bedders) will be categorically prohibited. Covert video surveillance will only be permitted if there are actual clues and grounds for suspicion of crimes or serious breaches of contract. Hence, routine deployment of covert video surveillance will be prohibited. Open video surveillance – for example at company entrances or for quality control purposes – will be allowed “in as far as it is necessary for safeguarding important business interests“, if it is not contrary to employees’ interests and if employees are made aware of the camera.

GPS Surveillance

Employers are permitted to track the location of an employee during working hours and time spent on standby duty only, that is, not during time off or leave. If employees are permitted to use their company car, for example, for private purposes, GPS tracking of their location will not be permitted during the private use. Even the collection, use and processing of data during working hours and time spent on standby duty will not be permissible unless this is necessary for operational reasons, e.g., when the employee is transporting valuable papers and the employer therefore has a considerable interest in continuously tracking the location of its property. Secretly tracking the location of employees is not permissible ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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