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Labor law/data protection: 10,000 euros in damages due to late fulfillment of the right to information

from | 15 Mar 2023

In HR practice, employees are increasingly asserting their right to information under data protection law in accordance with Article 15 (1) of the GDPR in cases of conflict and termination under employment law. However, the aim here is in very few cases to obtain knowledge about the data stored by the employer. Frequently, the aim is rather to build up additional pressure on the company, which is intended to increase the willingness to settle or to obtain financial compensation under data protection law.

There is currently an intensive debate among experts in the field of labor law as to whether a request for information made without any reason can at all pave the way to financial compensation. The labor courts have sometimes awarded (smaller) compensation payments in these cases (employer does not provide the requested information, provides it inadequately or too late). The Federal Labor Court recently deemed an amount of 1,000 euros to be appropriate in May 2022 (Ref.: 2 AZR 363/219).

However, this question of a de minimis limit is currently also being examined by the European Court of Justice. It is assumed that European law does not necessarily require financial compensation if the failure to provide data information causes no more than a mere inconvenience for the employee.

However, the Oldenburg Labor Court has now ordered a company to pay a former employee damages under Art. 82 DS-GVO in the amount of 𝟭𝟬.𝟬𝟬𝟬 𝗘𝘂𝗿𝗼 to a former employee because the company did not comply with the asserted right to information pursuant to Article 15 (1) of the GDPR (judgment of February 9, 2023, ref.: 3 Ca 150/21).

The plaintiff demanded information from his former employer pursuant to Article 15 (1) of the GDPR about personal data processed by the company and concerning him, as well as a copy of this data pursuant to Article 15 (3) of the GDPR. The employer refused to do so. It was not until almost two years later that it submitted individual documents in the court proceedings. The plaintiff therefore asserted a claim for non-material damages in addition to the information and was successful. According to the labor court, the violation of the GDPR itself already leads to non-material damages; a more detailed explanation of the actual damages incurred is not necessary.

PBC Legal takeaways: Companies should be prepared for data protection-related requests for information pursuant to Article 15 (1) of the GDPR in employment law disputes and respond accordingly within a month's time. We would be happy to advise you with our PBC Legal employment law team regarding the scope and limits of the information to be provided.

Author of this article and


Florian Christ

Florian Christ

Attorney at Law | Labor Law Specialist

Luisa Victoria Jeck

Luisa Victoria Jeck

Attorney at Law