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Germany: The employer does not have to refrain from any critical comments regarding the existing works council or individual members thereof with regard to an upcoming works council election

Under the German Works Constitution Act, it constitutes a criminal offence to obstruct or influence a works council election by inflicting or threatening any unfavorable treatment or by granting or promising any advantage. The Federal Labour Court recently ruled that this prohibition does not go so far that it triggers a strict neutrality obligation of the employer and his executive employees towards the works council and its individual members.

Germany: A voluntary group-wide employee survey on work environment and working conditions is not subject to the co-determination of the works council

A voluntary and anonymous survey regarding the employees’ work environment and working conditions, carried out among all employees within a group by the group management and based on a standardized questionnaire, is neither subject to co-determination of the works council as a measure of health protection nor qualifies as a personnel questionnaire. Therefore, the local works council may not claim injunctive relief.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an EU regulation that shall unify the processing of personal data by private companies and public authorities throughout the EU, will come into force on 25 May 2018, alongside with a new Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG) in Germany

The prerequisites of the new GDPR need to be incorporated into the existing German BDSG. A bill has already been drafted and will come into force on the same day as the GDPR (25 May 2018). In particular, infringements of data protection provisions will be punished more severely under the new regulations