Video surveillance is permissible in a shop’s back room with social area

According to the Labour Court Oberhausen (Arbeitsgericht, ArbG), video surveillance of a storage room with an area used by the employees to spend their work breaks is permissible. The employee cannot claim compensation for breach of privacy or file for injunctive relief.

In the relevant case the employer monitored the shop’s back room via video surveillance to prevent theft. This back room was mainly used as a storage room. However, it contained an area the employees use for their work breaks and to change into their work clothes. As in Germany video surveillance in break rooms and changing rooms is not allowed, the employee claimed a breach of privacy.

Nevertheless, the Labour Court did not classify the room as a break room or so called social room due to its main purpose as a storage room and as the room contained the shop’s safe. With regard to the number of employees the relevant employer was not required by law to provide a social room. Furthermore the employees could use the shop’s changing rooms to put on their work clothes. Therefore, the employers interest to prevent and investigate theft prevails over the employees privacy rights. The plaintiffs claim for compensation and injunctive relief was dismissed.

However, as the plaintiff declared an intention to pursue the case further we will keep you updated on future developments.