Nater Dallafior successfully enforces data protection rights of a former bank employee against CA Indosuez (Switzerland) SA

Before his retirement in 2010, the claimant, represented by Nater Dallafior, worked as a relationship manager for the Eastern Europe desk of CA Indosuez (Switzerland) SA (former Crédit Agricole (Suisse) SA). In August 2013, the Swiss and US governments entered into the Joint Statement, which outlined a potential cooperation of Swiss banks with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to settle their tax dispute. The DOJ subsequently released the Program For Non-Prosecution Agreements or Non-Target Letters For Swiss Banks ("Swiss Bank Program"). Under category 2 of the Swiss Bank Program, Swiss banks which were not the subject of criminal investigation but which had reason to believe they had committed tax-related offences under US law in connection with undeclared US related accounts were eligible to request a non-prosecution agreement from the DOJ if they provided inter alia specific information about US-related accounts including the names of the relationship managers affiliated with said accounts.

After joining the Swiss Bank Program of the DOJ under category 2, the bank informed the claimant that his name and function in connection with nine US-related accounts would be transmitted to the DOJ unless the bank received a restraining order. Upon the claimant's action, the District Court of Zurich held that the transmission of personal data was not permitted either under article 328b of the Swiss Code of Obligations or under article 6 of the Federal Act on Data Protection. First, the court ruled that the data transmission to the DOJ was not necessary for the performance of the (terminated) employment contract and, therefore, unlawful. Second, the court found that, due to the absence of adequate data protection legislation in the US, the intended data disclosure would seriously endanger the claimant's privacy and that no overriding public interest could justify such breach of law. In particular, the threat to the existence of the bank does not outweigh the claimant's interest of effective data protection.The Nater Dallafior team included Roberto Dallafior and Patrik Salzmann.