The German Federal Labor Court has published its reasoning underlying a June 2013 decision in which it declared invalid the dismissal by a large supermarket of an employee who was found in possession of stolen goods. According to the Court, the factual evidence leading to the dismissal—obtained upon inspection of the employee’s workplace locker without the presence of the employee—was gathered in violation of the employee’s right to privacy established by the German Federal Data Protection Act. The ruling represents a shift in case law regarding employee data privacy were German courts are likely to exclude from civil law proceedings information collected in violation of statutory data privacy requirements. Companies operating in Germany should be aware of these requirements in order to avoid losing lawsuits as a consequence of non-compliance with strict local data privacy rules.
On March 5, 2012, the Committee of Labor and Social Affairs of the German Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) held a hearing on a draft bill on whistleblowing. The draft bill contains extensive provisions protecting whistleblowers in German enterprise. The Committee has appointed Hogan Lovells lawyer Tim Wybitul as official expert for a hearing on whistleblowing provisions.