Hiring Practices in Germany

Due to the protection of the privacy of the employee, there are a lot of restrictions for the employer during the hiring process in Germany.

1. Job interviews

The employer is only entitled to ask for information, which is necessary for entering into the employment relationship, e.g. qualifications that are required for employment. Questions concerning pregnancy, age, race/ethnic origin, sexual identity, religion or severe disability are generally not allowed in a job interview.

2. Discrimination issues

The German General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) is of special significance during the hiring process. The law aims to abolish unequal and unjustified treatments of employees based on certain criteria: race and ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

To avoid possible discrimination issues the employer should always base the rejection of an applicant on objective hiring criteria such as job profile and required qualifications rather than on personal characteristics of the applicant.

3. Data privacy

The protection of data privacy of the applicant is of special interest during the hiring process. In accordance with Sec. 32 of the Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG) personal data may only be collected, processed or used for employment-related purposes where necessary for hiring decisions or, after hiring, for carrying out or terminating the employment contract.

Pursuant to the Federal Data Protection Act, data may only be collected with agreement or knowledge of the applicant.

Due to potential discrimination claims, the employer is only entitled to store personal data of the rejected applicant for 3-6 months after the end of the recruitment process. Only in case of explicit permission, may the employer store personal data of the applicant beyond that period.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Germany, please contact Tobias Pusch, Partner at Pusch Wahlig Legal ( at
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