A proposed law in Germany would ban employers from secretly filming their staff or from using social networking websites such as Facebook to not hire potential workers.
In recent years a series of high-profile German firms including Deutsche Telecom and supermarket Lidl have been involved in workplace spying scandals.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maziere said: “This law protects employees in Germany more than the existing law. At the same time this law protects the rights of the employers on necessary operating procedures, the fight against workforce violations and corruption.”
But some employers defended the secret surveillance saying it had been very effective at catching workers who steal from them.
Retail industry spokesperson Stefan Genth said: “You have to imagine that in a very few cases this is the last option. After all it also helps other employees not to be wrongly suspected.”
If the law is passed it would forbid employers from checking a potential employee’s social networking page, but not from doing a search on Google.
Some commentators have described this aspect of the draft bill as trying to save workers from themselves.