30 January 2015
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Alfred Sant (S&D)

Subject: EC law on medical examination for employment and on data protection of candidates


In view of the common practice by EU employers to request a medical examination before granting employment:
1. What is the basis in European law for the demand by employers, including EU institutions, for a detailed medical examination of applicants to employment posts, carried out by the prospective employer, while their applications are still being considered?
2. How are safeguards regarding privacy being maintained in such cases? How is it being ascertained that the detailed information about applicants acquired by these methods is not kept on record or made available for circulation, especially for applicants who are not selected?

Answer given by Ms Thyssen on behalf of the Commission

There is no specific provision at Union’s level regulating medical examination of job applicants. However, with respect to the European institutions, the legal bases for the medical examination of job applicants are the Staff Regulations for Civil Servants(1) and, as far as temporary and contract agents are concerned, the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants(2).

Processing of personal data including data concerning health of job applicants must be in line with EU legislation on the protection of personal data, in particular Directive 95/46/EC(3) and the national legislations transposing it. Without prejudice to the competences of the Commission as guardian of the Treaties, the supervision and enforcement of data protection legislation falls under the competence of national authorities, in particular the data protection supervisory authorities and courts. As regards the processing of personal data, including data concerning health, by Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 applies,(4) also to members of the Commission Medical Service. The European Data Protection Supervisor supervises and monitors compliance of these rules.

Medical information gathered by the Commission’s Medical Service during the pre-recruitment visit is included in the medical file which is kept separately from the administrative file, according to modalities that have undergone scrutiny by the EDPS. For non-recruited applicants the medical file is kept for one year and may then be destroyed. The retention period is extended to 5 years(5) in case of non‐ recruited candidates found inapt to perform the envisaged duties. The medical file of recruited candidates is kept at least throughout the person’s career(6).

(1) Article 33.
(2) Articles 13 and 83.
(3) Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24.10.1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, OJ, L 281, 23.11.1995, p.31.
(4) Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18.12.2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data, OJ L 8, 12.1.2001, p. 1.
(5) Except if a complaint has been lodged.
(6) Notification DPO-1198.9 Gestion des dossiers médicaux individuels numérisés — Bxl — Lux — Ispra.

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