Right to information according to Art. 15 GDPR in the employment relationship

von Nadja-Maria

In another blog article we have already dealt with the basic and generally applicable conditions of the right to information according to Art. 15 GDPR. Today’s post and the accompanying video are dedicated to the right to information in a special situation – Art. 15 GDPR in employment.

Employees also have a right to know about the processed data

In our video about this, we first address fundamental questions that we are often asked in everyday consulting.

  • Who are “employees”?
  • What do you have to consider when requesting information?
  • What are the deadlines?
  • What options do you have to identify the data subject?
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The employee as a data subject

The General Data Protection Regulation does not only make regulations between data processing companies and external persons. Rather, employees are also affected by data processing by their employer. Therefore, the entire spectrum of data subject rights is also open to them, including the right to information about the processed data according to Art. 15 GDPR.

Inspection of the personnel file

Employees and stored data? Readers familiar with labor law are sure to hear this. In the works constitution law, too, there is a legal basis in Section 83 (1) with which employees can find out which data the employer has saved in this way.

Due to the priority of the European GDPR, Art. 15 GDPR is also applicable in the employment relationship, at least in addition to Section 83 (1) BetrVG. This means that an employee can, if necessary, choose the legal basis on which to base his request for information.

Does all e-mail traffic also have to be released?

As already explained in the first part, the right to information according to Art. 15 GDPR is understood very broadly. Especially in the employment relationship, this leads to tasks that seem unsolvable. In an average employment relationship, huge amounts of data are generated. Starting with the entire e-mail correspondence of the employee, through all employment contract documents to the accounting documents that were issued to the client’s customers.

At present, case law still tends to, e.g. to consider all e-mail traffic as fundamentally included in the right to information. The extent to which this view will endure is currently still awaiting the highest court rulings.

Risk of abuse

From a data protection perspective, too, it is not overlooked that the right to information in the employment relationship in particular carries a certain risk of abuse. E.g. 15 GDPR can be used by a (former) employee to obtain information that is actually inappropriate for a labor court process. Or the right to information is exercised, followed by a complaint to the supervisory authority, in order to wipe out one last time the employer.

It is therefore extremely important, especially in the employment relationship, to keep an eye on the limits and reaction options to a claim under Art. 15 GDPR.

Would you like to find out more about the right to information according to Art. 15 GDPR?

Our basic blog article and the associated video clarify other exciting questions. Here you get to the blog article.

Do not forget that a request for information can appear in many places in your company. Make your employees aware of this by means of training courses and consult your data protection officer.

Do you need an employee data protection expert? Our interdisciplinary team of data protection officers, lawyers and information security experts are happy to help. Simply fill out our contact form or write an email to kontakt@aigner-business-solutions.com. You can also call us on +49 (0) 8505 91927-0. We look forward to supporting you.


Nadja-Maria leitet unser Inhouse-Juristen-Team. Sie studierte an der Universität Passau Rechtswissenschaften mit anschließendem Referendariat sowie erstem und zweitem Staatsexamen. Ihr Spezialgebiet ist Datenschutzrecht. Ihr fundiertes Wissen hält sie jederzeit aktuell. Für unsere Kunden und unser Team hat sie so immer einen Rat für eine passgenaue Lösung parat.