There’s no such thing as free parking…

The Regional Labour Court of Baden-Württemberg (Landesarbeitsgericht, LAG) ruled on January 13, 2014 (docket number: 1 Sa 17/13), that an employer was entitled to charge employees to use a newly constructed car park, even though the car park had previously been free of charge.

In the case at point, until the rebuilding and partial new construction of the hospital, parking had been freely accessible to employees and visitors. After the construction work, access to the car park was regulated by a barrier and a parking fee had to be paid. The Regional Labour Court decided that the employer was not obliged to offer free parking places to employees. A claim based on company practice (Betriebliche Übung) did not arise. Employees cannot assume that parking would remain free after the rebuilding and new construction. 

Even though in this particular case the employees could no longer expect free parking facilities, a claim based on company practices still usually arises, when benefits like free parking have become customary.