Austria: “Thin ice” employee data – What data may companies (not) share with the works council?

By neub9
2 Min Read

In Summary

Employers are often asked by works councils to provide all employee information. While works councils have a legitimate interest in HR developments, sharing personal employee data without proper legal basis can have serious consequences for companies.

Sharing Employee Data Legally

Personal employee data can only be shared with the works council if there is a specific legal basis for doing so. Without this, employers must reject requests for information. The Austrian Labour Constitution Act outlines what data can be shared with the works council, such as salary information, working time records, and termination details. Employers must have legal permission before disclosing any data.

Restricted Employee Data

Some employee information lacks a legal basis for disclosure, including private addresses, birth dates, religious affiliation, and health data. This information must not be shared with the works council, even upon request.

Consequences of Violations

Violating data protection laws can result in fines of up to EUR 20 million or 4% of the global annual turnover of the previous year. Employees can also file legal actions for compensation.

Before sharing employee data with the works council, it’s essential to consider the legal obligations, specific rights to information, and the purpose of the works council’s request. Data sharing should be limited to what is necessary and in the best interest of the employees.

Click here to read the German version.

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