ArbG Oldenburg - 3 Ca 150/21

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ArbG Oldenburg - 3 Ca 150/21
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Court: ArbG Oldenburg (Germany)
Jurisdiction: Germany
Relevant Law: Article 12 GDPR
Article 15 GDPR
Article 82 GDPR
Decided: 09.02.2023
Published: 15.03.2023
National Case Number/Name: 3 Ca 150/21
European Case Law Identifier:
Appeal from:
Appeal to: Unknown
Original Language(s): German
Original Source: Beck Online (in German)
Initial Contributor: LR

The Oldenburg Labour Court ordered a company to pay €10,000 in non-material damages to a former employee. The controller had failed to respond to an access request during an employment dispute.

English Summary


This case relates to an employment dispute between a fireworks company, the controller, and a former employee; the data subject. The data subject was initially a managing director of the company and, later on, a sales manager. The company imported fireworks and sold them to re-sellers who then sell these fireworks to ‘end-users’. While being employed by the company, the data subject also ran his own business outside of work, selling the fireworks directly to these 'end-users'.

The employment dispute between the parties concerned two main issues: the payment of incentive-based bonuses; and a post-contractual non-competition clause. The data subject sought to recoup unpaid bonuses, while the controller argued that the data subject’s actions, in running this business outside of work, violated the post-contractual non-competition clause; a claim the data subject refuted as there was an agreement in place that they were allowed to engage in this business while they were an employee of the company.

During this dispute, the data subject submitted an Article 15 GDPR access request in order to obtain personal data held by the company concerning him. The controller refused to provide this information, and the data subject did not receive it until 20 months later, when the controller disclosed the documents as part of the lawsuit. The data subject claimed that their former employer had violated Articles 12 and 15 GDPR, by failing to respond to the request, and sought non-material damages in the amount of €10,000; calculated as €500 for every month the controller failed to respond.


With regards to the data protection aspect of this case, the court held in favour of the data subject, finding that the controller had violated Article 15 GDPR, and its obligations under Article 12 GDPR. The court found that the data subject was entitled to €10,000 in non-material damages, as Aricle 82(1) GDPR allows for such damages and that a violation of the GDPR itself is sufficient for compensation to be awarded. It was also pointed out that the significant interest the plaintiff has in the information, and that damages in these cases can have an important preventative and deterrent effect.


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English Machine Translation of the Decision

The decision below is a machine translation of the German original. Please refer to the German original for more details.

10,000 euros in damages for violation of the GDPR right to information

The Oldenburg labor court has sentenced a company to pay a former employee non-material damages of EUR 10,000 under Art. 82 GDPR because it did not comply with a right to information under Art. 15 (1) GDPR. The violation of the GDPR itself leads to immaterial damage to be compensated, a more detailed description of the damage is not necessary.

Dispute about immaterial damages from Art. 82 Para. 1 DS-GVO The plaintiff demanded from his former employer, a company for fireworks, where he was first employed as managing director and later as sales manager, information according to Art. 15 Para. 1 DS -GVO about personal data processed by the company and relating to him as well as a copy of the data in accordance with Art. 15 Para. 3 DS-GVO. The employer refused to provide the information. It was only about 20 months later that she presented individual documents in the process. In addition to the information from Art. 82 (1) GDPR, the plaintiff therefore asserted a claim for immaterial damages in the amount of EUR 500 per month for the period of non-compliance with the obligation to provide information. ArbG: standard has a preventive character Amount of 10,000 euros awarded. The defendant should have fulfilled its obligation to provide information pursuant to Art. 12 (3) GDPR within one month. She didn't comply. The plaintiff did not have to explain the damage in more detail. Even the violation of the GDPR itself leads to immaterial damage to be compensated. According to the ArbG, citing the Federal Labor Court (BeckRS 2021, 29622 and BeckRS 2022, 20229). In contrast to the BAG, which considered damages of 1,000 euros to be sufficient in the case there, the ArbG considers damages of 10,000 euros here due to a significantly higher interest in information on the part of the plaintiff (comprehensive information versus information limited to work records) and the long period of non-fulfillment of the Duty to provide information justified.

on ArbG Oldenburg, judgment of February 9th, 2023 - 3 Ca 150/21 Editor beck-aktuell, March 14th, 2023.

Related Links

From the database beck-onlineArbG Berlin, immaterial damages according to Art. 82 DS-GVO because of violation of the right to information in the employment relationship, ZD 2023, 165 Leibold, damages according to Art. 82 DS-GVO because of incorrect or late information - overview of the current case law, ZD-Aktuell 2022, 01092BAG, Amount of the claim for immaterial damages in the event of a violation of GDPR, NJW 2022, 2779LG Cologne, No damages according to GDPR without damage, GRUR-RS 2022, 3541BAG, Processing of health data in the employment relationship, BeckRS 2021, 29622LAG Berlin-Brandenburg, damages for breach of the right to information under the GDPR, BeckRS 2021, 47685ArbG Neumünster, damages for late provision of information, ZD 2021, 171Korch, damages for data protection violations, NJW 2021, 978Paal/Aliprandi, immaterial damages for data protection violations, ZD 2021, 241