Monthly Archive: April 2017

New legislation on Act on Part-Time Work and Fixed-Term Employment postponed

In the course of assembling a parliamentary majority after the 2013 federal elections in Germany, the CDU and SPD parties agreed in their coalition agreement on adopting legislation on increasing flexibility for employees. One of the proposals provides for the employee’s right to return to full-time work after a fixed period of part-time work. As …

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Industrial action may take place in an employer’s parking lot

In a judgment dated 30 March 2017, the Higher Regional Labour Court Berlin-Brandenburg held that a trade union may take industrial action on an employer’s premises (docket number: 24 Sa 979/16). In this case, the trade union Ver.di had planned to picket in the company parking lot of a large online retailer. Its goal was …

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Update on reforms of the Maternity Protection Act

Following up on one of our blog posts last May, the German Parliament approved reforms of the Maternity Protection Act on 30 March 2017. The reforms are, however, still subject to the approval of the German Federal Council. One of the key changes will be an extension of the scope of protection, as a result …

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Employer may not issue polemic reference letter as coercive measures may follow

While an employee’s enforceable claim to have a reference letter issued generally only covers the formal and substantial minimum requirements of such a letter, this does not apply if the employee is issued a reference letter which is stated in such a polemical and ironic way that its submission by the employee to a potential …

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Shortened notice period during probationary period requires clear language

German law allows a short notice period of two weeks during a probationary period, which can be agreed for up to six months. However, if the employment contract generally provides for a longer notice period, without making clear that this longer notice period only applies after the end of the probationary period, that longer notice …

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Employer May Ban Employees From Wearing Headscarves

In a recent ruling made on March 14, 2017, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided (docket nos. C-157/15, C-188/15) that employers may prohibit staff from wearing Islamic headscarves under certain circumstances. The ECJ held that such prohibitions do not constitute “direct discrimination”; instead, limits on visible religious wear shall be considered permitted under EU …

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Change in shareholders does not trigger ARD-implementing legislation

The Federal Labour Court has clarified that sec. 613a of the German Civil Code, which implements the Acquired Rights Directive into German law, does not apply in case of a change of shareholders (judgment of the Federal Labour Court dated 23 March 2017, docket number 8 AZR 89/15). The parties had been in dispute about …

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Works council’s request to dismiss an employee qualifies as an urgent operational reason for dismissal

Under German law, the works council can request that an employer dismisses or reassigns an employee if the employee has violated the law or has grossly violated principles set forth in sec. 75 of the Works Constitution Act, such as by showing racist or xenophobic behavior in the workplace. If the employer does not comply …

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Non-compete clauses – No Compensation for Abstention – Severability Clause

Non-compete provisions valid for the period after an employment relationship has ended are invalid unless the agreement provides for a compensation payment of 50% of the employee’s former salary during the entire duration of the post-contractual non-compete obligation. This decision by the German Federal Employment Court (docket no. 10 AZR 448/15, dated March 22, 2017) …

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