The Spying Scandal of Lidl

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Audiovisual monitoring of employees by their employers – The spying scandal of LIDL

What fundamental civil rights were violated by LIDL?

By monitoring their employees through audiovisual media, the food supply chain LIDL infringed upon people’s rights of human dignity and of the non-violation of a person, in their immediate expressions, their social role and in their related environment. This has been specified in the German Basic Constitutional Law (GG), and can be found under article 2.

Essentially, employee’s personal rights can be violated through any interfering action. The illegality of the particular action is identified by the individual parties’ interests. Hereby, the protection of people’s personal rights stands under the restriction of commensurability, seen from a legislative point of view. That means, workers should be protected from the misuse of their personal data and of personal data processing, which has been recognized in the substantive contract law of the German Civil Code (BGB), the Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG) and in the basic constitutional law of the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG).

The personal data that LIDL gathered for spying on their staff included particulars about the relations of a defined, natural person (§2 I BDSG). The sensible data included for instance political opinions, information about health or the involvement with a worker’s union (§3 IX BDSG). The data security law is implemented in terms of the data collection, processing and usage of personal information (§1 Art 2 BDSG). Special legislative provisions as well as the declaration of intent can be found under §1 Art 3 BDSG / §4 Art 1 BDSG. The legitimacy of the data gathering of employees can be achieved through a written agreement between the employer and the employee. Consequently, legally allowed data can be saved. However, a company’s work and establishment agreement should not interfere with any personal right of the constitutional law. That...
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