International HR Briefing: Germany, July 2012

Revision of current data protection legislation in Germany has been the subject of debate before the German parliament since 2009. A draft Bill which resulted was heavily criticized by both trade unions and employer associations. However, it appears that the debate may have re-ignited recently and the most recent version draft legislation could become law in the near future. The focus of the Bill, so far as employers are concerned, is the protection of data relating to job applicants and employees. The main new elements include explicit regulation of the detection and prevention of criminal offences or serious breaches of obligation, use of video surveillance and the use of biometric assessments and telecommunications services. The draft legislation includes clear guidance as to the information a prospective employer is entitled to request during the application process. In addition, the proposals seek to regulate employer access to social networks. As currently drafted, deviations from the regulations will still be possible where consent is obtained or a workforce agreement is in place.

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