The Baden-Württemberg state data protection officer, Stefan Brink, makes it clear that, as a rule, the employer is not entitled to investigate and intervene, but only to the state health authorities. In case of doubt, employers should therefore seek contact with the health authorities and not collect health data “on their own” or even against the will of the employees. Brink has published a very detailed, practice-oriented “FAQ on Corona”.
In it, Stefan Brink also states that the employer may collect private contact details from the workforce in order to be able to warn the employees at short notice in the event of a company closure – provided that the employee’s consent. Brink points out that the manual of the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief recommends the establishment of an “internal communication network” tailored to the respective company. The company can take certain measures depending on the pandemic phase. However, the contact details must be deleted and again after the pandemic at the latest may not be used for other purposes.
Extract: “Due to their duty of care and according to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (ArbSchG), employers are obliged to take the necessary measures to ensure the operational safety and health of the workforce. This also includes the employer’s duty to ensure that other employees are protected from infection by a sick person. For this purpose, it is permissible under data protection law to collect information about the people with whom the sick employee was in contact … ”
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