Social Media and Data Privacy in Germany

1. Can the employer restrict the employee’s use of Internet and social media during working hours?

The employer is entitled to decide whether or not and to which extent the employees may use the company Internet, telephone or email system for private matters, within or outside of the working hours. Without permission, the employee is generally not entitled to use the Internet for private matters. The Federal Labour Court ruled that even without an explicit prohibition, employees may not assume that the employer will tolerate liberal private use. However, most companies permit the private use of Internet.

2. Employee’s use of social media to disparage the employer or divulge confidential information

The employee is obligated not to violate the justified interests of the employer, even during his free time. This means that the employee is not entitled to disparage the employer towards any third person or in social media. Furthermore, the employee is obliged to settle any disputes, with the employer internally, before leaking out internal information, especially to media.

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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