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Background Checks in Germany

Germany currently contains no specific legislation regarding background checks. However, statutory constraints do exist pertaining to the attainment and storage of personal data. Employers must stay within their rights and limitations outlined by the German Equal Treatment Act (AGG), the German Data Protection Act, and the personality rights of each applicant protected under the German Civil Code. Background checks in Germany rely most heavily on the principle of direct acquisition of data via the applicant.

Creditworthiness checks are also prohibited under the German Data Protection Act. Collecting personal data from the internet is allowed if this data is accessible to the general public, unless the protectable interests of the applicant outweigh this. Work-oriented sites such as LinkedIn are accessible to the public after log-in, whereas social networking sites like Facebook may not be available due to privacy settings. Employers walk a fine line when acquiring information and must maintain that all enquires are limited to information on the duration and type of employment. Should employers breach any existing rights, or conduct any impermissible background checks, applicants can assert claims for damages

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