Labor law – rights & obligations in the application process

Already in the application process there are rights and obligations that should be observed. Because even without an employment contract, both parties undertake to show mutual consideration and to protect their respective interests and rights.

1 Storage of application documents

After receipt of the application documents, a company is obliged to store the documents safely and carefully and not to pass them on to third parties. Only those who are actively involved in the hiring process have the authority to view the applications. This is usually the employer, a human resources manager and, if necessary, someone from the works council. In no case, however, interns or trainees. All those involved must maintain secrecy about the application documents, otherwise, according to the Federal Data Protection Act, a fine of up to 300.00 euros may be due.

After the end of the application phase, these documents must be returned to the applicant or deleted from the database if no employment contract has been concluded.

It is different with an unsolicited application. The company only has to return the documents if the applicant has enclosed a stamped addressed envelope. Otherwise they will be destroyed or deleted after a short time.

2 Assumption of costs in the application process

Applications are associated with a number of costs, be it material costs, shipping costs or travel expenses to the interview. By the way: If the applicant is already in a terminated employment relationship, according to the Civil Code BGB §629, he is even entitled to an exemption for a job interview.

The employer is not obliged to bear the expenses for an application portfolio, postage or printing. The applicant has to bear these costs himself, but can claim them retrospectively as application costs in the tax return.

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Applicants are entitled to reimbursement of travel expenses incurred for an interview. However, the applicant must assert this himself. If this does not happen, the employer is not obliged to reimburse the costs of his own accord. However, the employer can exclude the right to reimbursement from the outset if he expressly mentions this in the invitation to the interview. The associated phrase is usually that the applicant has to bear any travel expenses themselves.

3 Disclosure Obligation

Both employer and employee are obliged to inform the other party comprehensively about all circumstances that are important for the exercise of the position to be filled.

The employer has a duty to provide information in particular when it comes to above-average requirements or particular health risks. But even if there is a risk to the job in the event of planned restructuring or wages and salaries, the employer must inform the applicant of this.

But the employee must also disclose all circumstances that are relevant to the position. For example, if he does not have a work permit or is addicted to alcohol and wants to become a professional driver, he is obliged to report this to the employer.

4 Truthfulness

In an interview, an applicant must truthfully answer all legally permissible questions. If he does not do this, the employer can later terminate the employment relationship for behavioral reasons or contest it for fraudulent misrepresentation. Whether a question is legally permissible always depends on the position to be filled. Questions about the place of residence, professional and technical knowledge, the previous employer and criminal records are always permissible. But the HR manager can also ask about severe disabilities or residence and work permits for foreign applicants.

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Questions about the general state of health are only permitted if there is a legitimate interest. For example, in the case of permanent or acute illnesses. In the case of an applicant for a position as a doctor or surgeon, for example, it is permissible to ask about an HIV infection.

Incidentally, the famous question about pregnancy is not legal, unless the health of the mother or child could be endangered during the activity (e.g. as an X-ray assistant). Otherwise, a lie is justified here, since the employer is not allowed to ask about family planning or an upcoming wedding.

However, questions about marriage and partnership, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or financial circumstances are not permitted.

5 Fiduciary Duty

Through the employment relationship, employees, but especially engineers, come into contact with customer information and contract documents, i.e. with data that can be of considerable interest to a company’s competitors. As a secondary obligation arising from the employment relationship, the employee has the duty of loyalty, which requires him to avert damage from his contractual partner as far as possible. In the absence of a special agreement, the employee must therefore maintain confidentiality regarding company and business secrets. These are all facts that are related to a business operation and that are only known to a narrowly limited group of people and are not obvious and that the employer wants to keep secret due to a legitimate economic interest.


Ultimately, it is important to know which rights and obligations apply to both the applicant and the employer, because this is the only way to ensure adequate preparation for an interview. Until this happens, of course, professional application documents also count as a basis. The application ghostwriters from correctly, who are known from the science show Galileo, help with the creation and a carefree life during the application process.

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Hannes Jurgensen

…studied media sciences and is currently doing an internship in PR and online marketing at the startupproperty A service provider who writes applications and thus helps to find a dream job. He has also gained experience in print and television. In his private life, he likes to travel, do sports and take photos.

Source: correctly good

Image source: shutterstock_144764830.jpg

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