On August 19, 2009, the state DPA in North Rhine-Westphalia fined a subsidiary of the discount supermarket chain Lidl €36,000 (approximately $51,000) for illegally keeping records of employee health data.

The case was triggered by a report in the German news magazine Der Spiegel.  A Bochum resident found papers and forms containing Lidl employees’ health data in a trash bin at a car wash and forwarded them to the magazine.  Subsequent investigations revealed that at least four Lidl branches in North Rhine-Westphalia were using a form to record data about employees’ medical conditions, partly without their knowledge.  This activity was found to violate data protection law in many cases.

Read the press release issued by the German Data Protection Authority (in German).