Information right of the works council independent of employee consent

According to a recent judgment by the Higher Regional Labour Court in Munich (docket number 11 TaBV 36/17) of 27 September 2017, the works council is entitled to receive information regarding the existence of pregnant employees in the operation.

In the case at hand, the employer had provided employees with a right to “opt out” from forwarding the employer notification about their pregnancy to the works council. If employees objected to their information being forwarded, the works council did not receive such information due to privacy concerns. The works council argued that in order to be able to verify whether the employer complied with employee protection rights, and in particular provisions protecting expectant mothers, it was entitled to receive such information even if the employee had objected.

The Higher Regional Labour Court confirmed that the works council was entitled to receive information on pregnant employees within the operation. It stated that works council information rights were not subject to employee consent, and that the works council was only able to monitor compliance or inform employees about special rights and entitlements if it had complete information about relevant employee data, such as an employee’s pregnancy.