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This case shows a serious disregard for employee data protection. “The amount of the fine that was imposed is therefore appropriate and suitable to deter companies from violating the privacy of their employees,” he emphasized.
Since the company has its German headquarters in the Hanseatic city, the case is the responsibility of the Hamburg commissioner for data protection.
The case became known by Breits in 2019. According to the authorities, information about their private living environment has been extensively stored and processed for individual employees since at least 2014. Vacation and sickness absences would have superiors had a “welcome back talk”. In some cases, not only specific holiday experiences, but also symptoms of illness and diagnoses were recorded.
Some superiors had also “acquired a broad knowledge of the private life of their employees through one-on-one and floor discussions, ranging from harmless details to family problems and religious beliefs,” it said.
“To compensate those affected on site and to restore trust in the company as an employer” was expressly rated positively by Caspar.
The GDPR fine against H&M shows once again how important employee data protection is within the company. Our colleagues will be happy to help you with the question of how specifically you have to or are allowed to handle your employee data. Feel free to contact us using our contact form or 08505 91927-0.
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