Dr. Isabel Schäfer

A cycling accident with fatal consequnces – Regional Labour Court rules over injury and dismissal

The problem Around 20% of all dismissals of employees are subject to legal action. Therefore it is reasonable that employers want to make sure that dismissals are legally sound. One of the most important points in such lawsuits is whether the letter of notice has reached the employee, since the employer must not only prove …

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The hazards when working from home

As more and more employees enjoy home office options, litigation with regard to work accidents suffered when working from home has also become more relevant. While statutory accident insurance coverage is triggered when working from home, this does not extend to non-work-related activities. In a recent judgment, the Munich social court held that an employee …

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Fixed-term employment contract for actor in crime series – justified due to the specific characteristics of the work performance

According to the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) the employment contract of an actor in a crime series can be fixed-term according to Section 14 para 1 sentence 2 no. 4 of the German Part-Time Employment Act given the factual reason of the specific characteristics of the work as an actor (dated 30 August 2017, …

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Obligation to provide the works council with salary data does not allow for anonymized lists

Under the Works Constitution Act, the works council has a right to access information regarding the gross salary of employees. Such information is provided to the works council in form of a chart including relevant compensation details. In a case decided by the Higher Regional Labour Court of North Rhine Westphalia – Hamm – (judgment …

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Competing activities during notice period can justify an immediate termination for cause

In its judgment dated 12 April 2017 (docket number 3 Sa 202/16), the Higher Regional Labour Court of Schleswig Holstein found that activities for a competitor during an employee’s notice period may justify an immediate termination for cause. Under the employment contract, the employee had committed not to hold any shares of a company in …

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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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Update on German Labour Leasing Laws – Coalition Agreement

According to Federal Minister Andrea Nahles (SPD), the coalition have now made a breakthrough on proposals to amend the German labour leasing laws. After a meeting of the coalition committee on 10 May 2016, the participants agreed on “clear rules” for employees and employers. They clearly agreed on the principle of “Equal pay for work …

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Damages for harassment at the workplace

Unfair treatment at the workplace only qualifies as harassment if it based on continuing hostile and discriminatory behavior that follows a purpose not protected by the legal system and infringes on an individual’s personality or similar rights (judgment by the Higher Labour Court (Landesarbeitsgericht, LAG) Rheinland-Pfalz, 30 November 2015, docket no. 3 Sa 371/15). In …

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Second chance by termination

The Higher Labor Court Baden-Württemberg (Landesarbeitsgericht Baden-Württemberg) ruled on 6 May 2015 (ref. no. 4 Sa 94/14) that a termination in the probationary period according to the German Employment Dismissal Act, which extends the applicable notice period, cannot be considered an unlawful circumvention of dismissal protection, where the intention is to give the employee another …

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Independent contractor or employee – That is the question.

Time and again the question arises whether an individual is employed as an independent contractor or as an employee. Under German law there is a thin line between an employee, ie someone who performs services under an employment contract, and an independent contractor, ie someone who performs services on an independent basis. The distinction is …

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The heat is on….are employees entitled to “Hitzefrei”?

The temperature in Germany has been above 25 °C (77°F) for the past few weeks and many employees might wonder whether they are entitled to a day off due to the excessive heat (“hitzefrei” as it is called in Germany). According to Sec. 3 of the Labour Protection Act (Arbeitsschutzgesetz, ArbSchG), the employer is obligated …

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