Many countries have made vaccination mandatory for healthcare and public-sector workers, and some businesses, particularly in the United States, have begun requiring that their employees be vaccinated.

However, due of Germany’s history of Nazi and Communist state surveillance of citizens, the country’s data privacy rules are strict, and businesses have no right to know about their employees’ health issues, according to Reuters.

Germany’s labor minister has said companies will not be allowed to question employees about their COVID vaccination status, while “pragmatic solutions” may be required for sectors with a higher risk of spreading the virus, RT reported.

In an interview with German television ARD on Wednesday, Sept. 1, German Labor Minister Hubertus Heil stated that employers will not have a general right to obtain information about their employees’ COVID vaccination status.

“We must act according to the rule of law. Acting under the rule of law means that an employer is not entitled to information about health data…[and] is also not allowed to look at the medical records of an employee, because this is very personal data,” the minister said.

Heil added that he is “in favor of finding pragmatic solutions” for employees in places that are “at a greater risk” such as prisons, hospitals, and care homes will definitely be required to prove that they have been vaccinated, recently tested negative, or recovered from coronavirus in the future.

However, exemptions to Germany’s privacy laws were made in August to allow restaurants to reopen, with workers and customers required to show proof of vaccination or recent negative tests.

The labor minister’s remarks coincide with a cabinet agreement signed on Sept. 1 requiring companies to give their employees time off to get their coronavirus jabs.

German bosses have recently put pressure on the government to provide them the authority to question employees about their vaccination status as infections rise again. Thilo Brodtmann, the head of the German Engineering Federation, said on Tuesday that “employees must do everything they can to reduce the risk of infection to zero,” adding that “this includes at least an obligation to provide this information.”

Nearly 61 % have received both shots, and 65% have had at least one.

Anger over new coronavirus restrictions has triggered widespread protests in France, with several thousand taking to the streets for weeks, accusing the government of overreach and limiting people’s freedom. On Saturday and Sunday, thousands of people marched through Berlin’s streets in unauthorized protests against coronavirus vaccinations and restrictions.

On Wednesday, the government recorded 13,531 new cases and 23 deaths, bringing the total number of cases to almost 3.9 million and the death toll to 92,223 people.

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