New German law will curb discriminatory AI practices at work

New German law will curb discriminatory AI practices at work

The German government is planning to introduce a new law which will limit employers' use of AI technology to monitor and control existing employees or help to select prospective employees.

New Data Protection Act will limit AI practices in Germany

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser and Labour Minister Hubertus Heil are planning to introduce an Employee Data Protection Act which would limit the extent to which AI can provide employers with information about their employees or prospective employees.

The new Act should limit the ways that employers can use AI programs to find out information about employees’ health status, whereabouts, political leanings or sexuality, for example.

Speaking to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Faeser said that while the German government recognises that AI plays an increasingly important role in society and provides “immense opportunities", it also allows for a scenario where processes are "no longer transparent, [...] people are discriminated against or [...] personal rights are violated by unauthorised monitoring."

Heil wants to maintain worker protection in the digital world

For Heil, the new Act is urgently needed. “Good working conditions, fair pay, and worker protection should also apply in the digital world of work,” the Labour Minister told Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Faeser added that only in exceptional circumstances where it is for the safety of the employees, for example, firefighters working in the line of duty, should video recordings of employees be allowed, and that there should always be a room at work where there is no surveillance.

“[The employer] should also never compose a complete application or service profile on prospective or existing employees,” the minister continued.

Using the new Act, the government would like to impose limitations on AI programs used in job application processes. In future, these will have to meet scientific standards and will only be able to process applicant qualities which are relevant to the position.

The first draft of the new law is expected to be published this summer.

Thumb image credit: Monkey Business Images /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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