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No dogs allowed – a “ruff” decision for employees

The Regional Labour Court Düsseldorf (Landesarbeitsgericht, LAG) ruled on 23 March 2014 (docket number: 9 Sa 1207/13) that employers are generally entitled to prohibit their employees from taking their dogs to work. According to the judges the prohibition can be based on the employer’s right to give instructions (Direktionsrecht) to his employees – as that right also covers the “organisational conduct” (Ordnungsverhalten) of employees within the company.

The Court further stated that the employee is under an obligation to obey orders given by the employer as long as these orders keep within the limits of the employment contract – taking into account the mutual interests of both parties and the circumstances of each individual case.

Even if other employees are allowed to take along their dogs to work, this can be prohibited for certain employees e.g. if their dog has a negative effect on operational procedures by scaring others. Whether or not the specific dog is actually dangerous is not decisive of the question whether the dog can be taken to work.