germany

Germany Employee Background Checks

Country Overview

There are 16 states that comprise Germany, and each state has its own data protection law and authority. State agencies are governed by the specific privacy laws in each state whereas the federal law will control federal agencies and private entities.

Under the current data privacy scheme – the Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz or BDSG) which implements the European Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC – collection and processing of personal data may only occur with an individual’s consent (unless an exemption applies which is unlikely in the background screening context). In Germany, consent must be informed and freely given (i.e., must be free of coercion). However, the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information has opined that consent will never be considered freely given in the employment relationship context as the individual is seeking employment. Arguably then an applicant’s failure to provide consent to background screening should not be held against him or her so employers should consult with a qualified legal expert to determine what steps should be taken if an individual were to refuse consent to a background check.

It is also important to note that the data privacy landscape throughout the European Union is shifting due to the passage of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which goes into effect May 25, 2018. As noted in the introductory notes of the legislation, the fragmented nature of data privacy across member states created significant challenges to businesses in terms of compliance and presented different rights for individuals depending on where they resided. Instead, the GDPR will represent a uniform law that all impacted companies must adhere to. The GDPR presents strengthened protections for data subjects as well including a “right to be forgotten”, easier access to their data and stronger enforcement of the rules.

The EU-US Privacy Shield presents one method for lawful data transfers from Germany (or any other member state) to the United States. The Privacy Shield is the result of an agreement between the European Commission and the US following the invalidation of the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework in October 2015. However, Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) in several Germany states remain skeptical of any data transfers to and from the US under most cases including via the Privacy Shield or standard contractual clauses. For example, the Hamburg DPA has been particularly outspoken regarding “illegal” data transfers and issued fines in June 2016 against three companies. The data protection authority (ULD) in Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) issued a press release and position paper after the Safe Harbor’s invalidation calling into question whether alternatives to data transfer – standard contractual clauses or data subject consent – were even valid.

At this time the Privacy Shield remains a valid way to lawfully transfer data. Info Cubic self-certifies compliance with the EU-US Privacy Shield as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use and transfer of personal data from the European Union member states to the United States. More information about this program may be found here: https://www.privacyshield.gov/welcome and a list of active and inactive organizations, including Info Cubic’s certification, may be found here: https://www.privacyshield.gov/list.

For further information, download our Germany Country Sheet.

 
Individual Records Searches Signup

  Germany Criminal Records Search 

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Requirements: Name, date of birth, city, release form

Certificate of Good Conduct: The applicant must apply for the Certificate of Good Conduct him-or-herself – third parties cannot request this information (apart from law enforcement agencies). The Certificate is issued in German and is returned to the individual which the individual can then decide to pass along to a third party such as Info Cubic.

Individuals residing in Germany must submit an application for the Certificate in person or in writing via mail. E-mailed requests are not honored. Individuals not currently residing in Germany may make the request in writing which requires completion of a specific written application, a fee and proof of identity. The signature and form must be notarized.

A Certificate of Good Conduct contains any conviction information entered into the Federal Central Criminal Register FCCR. Generally, this information will only include convictions that resulted in a fine of at least 90 days’ income or imprisonment of at least 3 months; thus, minor offenses are not included. Additionally, convictions are no longer disclosable after 5 to 20 years (depending on the nature of the crime) with the exception of severe crimes which resulted in life imprisonment for example.

Note: Criminal records checks in Germany are one of the more controversial checks given the diverse viewpoints individuals have as it pertains to the permissibility of this type of search. In general, criminal searches should not be conducted unless the information is highly relevant to the position being filled.

  Germany Civil Records Search 

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Requirements: Name, date of birth, city, release

This search is conducted at the local level through the court based on the jurisdiction of the city provided. Report may include case type, file date, case number, name of court where case was filed, plaintiff, defendant and disposition if a case can be located.

  Germany Bankruptcy Records Search 

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Requirements: Name, date of birth, city, release

This search is conducted at the local level through the court based on the jurisdiction of the city provided. Report may include file date, case number, name of court where case was filed and case status if a bankruptcy case can be located.

  Education Degree Verification in Germany 

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Requirements: Name, date of birth, school name, degree, major, dates of attendance, city of school, copy of degree, release form

It is common to verify only the highest degree obtained by a candidate. Educational institutions will be contacted to verify dates of attendance, graduation date and degree information.

  Employment Verification in Germany 

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Requirements: Name, date of birth, employer name and contact information, dates of employment, position held, release form

Employers will be contacted to verify the individual’s title, dates of employment and if the candidate is eligible for rehire. Typically employment verifications do not extend beyond a 7 year time frame in the absent a legal or regulatory requirement to obtain that information.

  Reference Check in Germany 

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Requirements: Applicant name and date of birth, reference's relationship, contact name and contact information (including phone number and email address)

This search is conducted via telephone (or at times e-mail) with the individual’s personal or professional references using a standard list of questions.

  Motor Vehicle Records 

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The motor vehicle records search will confirm the validity of an individual’s Driver’s License.

  Global Monitor Check 

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Requirements: Name, date of birth, address

The Global Monitor Check (GMC) is database product that searches a variety of databases including (but not limited to):

  • • Bank of England Sanctions
  • • Commodity Futures Trading Commission List of Regulatory and Self-Regulatory Authorities
  • • Defense Trade Controls (DTC) Debarred Parties
  • • FBI Fugitives 10 Most Wanted, Most Wanted Terrorists and Monthly Most Wanted
  • • Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Special Alert List
  • • Foreign Agent Registrations
  • • International Police Most Wanted
  • • Office of Foreign Asset Control
  • • OFAC - Enhanced Sanctioned Countries
  • • OFAC – Palestinian Legislative Council
  • • Office of Controller of Currency of Unauthorized Banks
  • • OSFI - Canada
  • • Politically Exposed Persons
  • • State Department Terrorist Exclusions
  • • Terrorists Inside of European Union
  • • Terrorists Outside of European Union
  • • United Nations Named Terrorists
  • • US Bureau of Industry and Security - Unverified Entity List
  • • US Bureau of Industry and Security - Denied Entity List
  • • US Bureau of Industry and Security - Denied Person List
  • • World Bank Ineligible Firms

  ID Check in Germany 

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Requirements: Name, DOB, Address, Consent Form, Identification Card Color Copy (Front and Back)

A validation and/or verification of the data subject’s identity documents.

  Directorship Check in Germany 

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Requirements: Name, date of birth, address, passport copy, company name where directorship was held, company address, In-Country Residence History Form

A search to determine if a candidate had fiduciary or board of directors responsibilities for a company.

Individual Packages Signup

  Employment Screening Package 

  signup

Requirements: Name, date of birth, city, school name, degree obtained, dates of attendance, city of school, employer name and contact information, dates of employment, position, degree copy and release form

The employment screening package provides discounted pricing rather than ordering individual products. The package Includes:

  • - Criminal Background Check
  • - Highest Degree Verification
  • - One Employment Verification

  Criminal and Civil Search Package 

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Requirements: Name (including former name), dob, address, release

The Criminal and Civil Search Package offers discounted pricing of our most popular searches. This bundle includes one criminal records search and one civil records search, based on the jurisdiction of the address provided.

  Civil and Bankruptcy Search Package 

  signup

Requirements: Name (including former name), dob, address, release

The Civil and Bankruptcy Search Package offers discounted pricing of our most popular due diligence searches. This bundle includes one civil records search and one bankruptcy records search, based on the jurisdiction of the address provided.

 

German Police Certificate


A Certificate of Good Standing (also known as a Certificate of Good Conduct) can be obtained through the German Police. The Certificate will only be issued to the subject themselves. The Certificate provides information on criminal convictions from the Central Registry but will not provide information on the following types of offenses.

  • Non-conviction information
  • Youth offender imprisonments or detentions (individuals under the age of 21)
  • Offenses over 5 years old
  • Convictions that have resulted in imprisonment that does not exceed two years when the individual is placed on provisional discharge for some types of drug related charges
  • Convictions that have resulted in imprisonment that does not exceed 3 months or involving penalties that do not exceed 90 day’s income.

The information contained in the Central Registry is regulated by the Central Registry Act.

Individuals living in Germany can complete an application for the Certificate at the Residents Registration Office or at their local police station. The individual's identity will be confirmed during the time the application is file. A third party is not able to obtain the Certificate on the individual's behalf.

Individuals living outside of Germany can provide confirmation of their identity and signature to a German Consular or Embassy. Individuals would be asked to visit the office in person or send their personal details including certified copy of their personal ID including their own signature, name, date of birth, address, place of birth and nationality to The Federal Central Register. For more information on this process please visit their website directly.

 

German Privacy laws & Regulations


It is important to note that the data privacy landscape throughout the European Union is shifting due to the passage of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which goes into effect May 25, 2018. The GDPR presents strengthened protections for data subjects as well including a “right to be forgotten”, easier access to their data and stronger enforcement of the rules. The GDPR establishes six privacy principles. Those privacy principles are:

  1. Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency
    • Lawful: Organizations processing personal information data must meet the requirements described in article 5, clause 1(a) of the GDPR. Written consent of the individual whose information is to be collected must be obtained.
    • Transparency: Organizations must notify the data subject of what personal information data processing will be done.
    • Fairness: Organizations must process personal information data according to how they described it to be when notifying the individual of what processing will be done.
  2. Purpose limitations
    • Organizations must have a “specified, explicit and legitimate [business] purpose” for collecting personal information data. The collected data can only be used for the specific primary purpose that the data subject has been made aware of, and gave consent to. Secondary purposes are prohibited unless further consent has been obtained from the data subject.
  3. Data minimization
    • Organizations must only collect personal information data that is “adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.” Only the minimum amount of data necessary for specific processing is allowed to be collected and kept.
  4. Accuracy
    • Organizations collecting data must ensure that data is “accurate and where necessary kept up to date.” Processes should be in place to ensure that the information collected is accurate, up-to-date, complete, relevant, and not misleading.
  5. Storage limitations
    • Organizations may not retain data longer than necessary. The GDPR states data must be “kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than necessary.” Data no longer required should be de-identified and destroyed.
  6. Integrity and confidentiality
    • Organizations must handle data “in a manner [that ensures] appropriate security of the personal data including protection against unlawful processing or accidental loss, destruction or damage.” Organizations must have strict security measures in place to protect data from misuse, loss, unauthorized access, modification, and disclosure.
 
 

Criminal Record Information in Germany


Employers may not inquire into an individual's criminal history unless the employer can establish that criminal records are directly related to the position and may have an impact on the individual's ability to perform the specific job duties of that position. An individual is not required to disclose any information pertaining to their criminal history.

Germany's national criminal record check is the Certificate of Good Conduct. The applicant must apply for the Certificate of Good Conduct him-or-herself – third parties cannot request this information (apart from law enforcement agencies). The Certificate is issued in German and is returned to the individual which the individual can then decide to pass along to a third party such as Info Cubic. If the individual returns the Certificate to Info Cubic, the information will be translated and placed onto the report.

Individuals residing in Germany must submit an application for the Certificate in person or in writing via mail. E-mailed requests are not honored. Individuals not currently residing in Germany may make the request in writing which requires completion of a specific written application, a fee and proof of identity. The signature and form must be notarized.

A Certificate of Good Conduct contains any conviction information entered into the Federal Central Criminal Register FCCR. Generally, this information will only include convictions that resulted in a fine of at least 90 days' income or imprisonment of at least 3 months; thus, minor offenses are not included. Additionally, convictions are no longer disclosable after 5 to 20 years (depending on the nature of the crime) with the exception of severe crimes which resulted in life imprisonment for example.

Info Cubic does not offer Germany's Certificate of Good Conduct. Instead, Info Cubic searches the local courts that have jurisdiction over the data subject's address provided.

 

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At Info Cubic, data privacy and protection is of the utmost importance.
The following associations and certifications prove our commitment to data security.

Privacy Shield   GDPR privacy shield  PBSA  SOC2

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