Equal Treatment

Employee Leasing: Deviation from Equal Pay

According to a judgement of the Federal Labour Court employers (agency) who lease employees (agency workers) to a third party (client) can deviate from the principle of equal treatment (“Equal Pay”) by virtue of a reference clause in the contract of employment only if, for the period of the lease, the relevant collective bargaining agreement for employee leasing fully, and not just partially, applies (judgement dated 16 October 2019, docket number 4 AZR 66/18). The plaintiff was employed by the defendant and leased out to a client as a driver for the period from April 2014 to April 2015. The …

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Overtime compensation – are 9 days vacation enough?

The problem Over time, a complex matter often leads to disputes, sometimes even trials between employers and employees. The question whether employers may arrange overtime, but also how to reimburse it is one such highly controversial issue. On June, 26 2019 (docket number: 5 AZR 452/18) the Federal Labour Court (BAG) had to decide whether the plant-level agreement of “ver.di” (a large German service trade union) with its works council on overtime compensation meets the provisions of German law. The plaintiff, an employee of ver.di working as union secretary, wanted compensation amounting to EUR 9,345.84 for working overtime in the …

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Good news for parents? – Interpretation of social plan severance provisions

If, in a social compensation plan, the severance payment calculation is based solely on the gross monthly basic salary of a single reference month, the decisive salary of employees who work part-time in that month during their parental leave, is the gross monthly basic salary which they would have been entitled to under their employment contract if they had not been on parental leave (i.e. if they had not worked part time. This is what the German Federal Labour Court decided in its judgment of 15 May 2918 – docket number 1 AZR 20/17. The Court held that the system …

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Addressing applicants “who are about to graduate”, asking for “very good German and English language skills” as well as a description of being a “young, dynamic company” is in general non-discriminatory

On 23 November 2017 the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) ruled in two parallel proceedings, each with the same plaintiff, on compensation claims for an alleged infringement of the principle of non-discrimination under the General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz, AGG) on the basis of two job advertisements. The first position required a completed degree, or that the applicant was about to graduate, as well as very good German and English language skills (docket number 8 AZR 372/16). The second position was advertised by a company that described itself as being “young, dynamic” (docket number 8 AZR 604/16). The defendants …

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Are workers in minor employment entitled to occupational pensions?

In an interesting appeal to the Federal Labour Court (docket number 3 AZR 83/16) the services trade union ver.di had been called upon by a female employee – who had originally been employed by the union Deutsche Postgewerkschaft since 1991 and had been working for the defendant since its merger with ver.di in 2001 – to obtain a pension. Since 2004, the applicant had been working in minor employment (a so called mini job or marginal employment with a maximum monthly income of Euro 450). The provisions of the 1995 pension scheme, which applied to the defendant, provide that all …

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Employees exempted from their duties are allowed to take part in a corporate event

On 22 June 2017 (docket number 8 CA 5233/16) the labour court in Cologne found that an employee is allowed to take part in company outings and events although he is on garden leave. The employee and subsequently plaintiff had been working for the employer, an association that operates retirement homes, for almost three decades. Triggered by a change in the employer’s executive board, the employee agreed to be on garden leave for the last two years prior to his pension start date. Although on garden leave, he was still initially invited to the employer’s events, e.g. the Christmas party. …

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Discriminatory job advertisement – No claim for damages if applicant was not “seriously” applying for the job

If an applicant applies for a job solely to bring a claim then he will have no claim for damages, even if the job advertisement violates the General Act on Equal Treatment (judgement of the Munich labour court dated 24 November 2016, docket number 173 C 8860/16). A company advertised a voluntary job at a marketing agency in a local newspaper. The role required the employee to have frequent conversations with customers over the phone. The advertisement read, inter alia, “We are looking for a female employee with a friendly voice.” The male applicant (and later plaintiff), who had an …

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New Act on Remuneration Transparency

Following up our blog post from December 19, 2016 where we reported about a legislative proposal to promote equal pay between women and men, the Remuneration Transparency Act has now entered into force. Arguing that women still earn 7 % less than men even if statistics account for women frequently working part-time, less often climbing up the career ladder and rather working in social professions with lower salaries, the German Government felt that at least larger employers (beyond 200 employed persons) should be held responsible for their actions in this context. To close the gender pay gap the two legislative …

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Notice Periods May Be Tied to Years of Service

In a judgment dated September 18, 2014, the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) ruled that seniority-related notice periods are not discriminatory on grounds of age (docket number: 6 AZR 636/13). This judgment settles a long-term bone of contention with regard to the impact of equal treatment law on dismissal protection provisions. Sec. 622 of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, BGB) provides for statutory notice periods depending on the time of service. The statutory minimum notice periods for terminations are: • During the first 2 years of service, 4 weeks effective to the 15th or to the end of a …

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The Ins and Outs of German Vacation Time and Vacation Pay

As we approach summer many employers start to intensify their staff’s vacation planning.  Vacation regulations in Germany are not as straightforward as many employers might think. Today’s blog therefore aims to provide a basic overview on German vacation rules for employers. How much vacation pay and time are employees entitled to? Starting off with the basics, German employment legislation already entitles an employee to a minimum vacation time after only one full month of employment. Surprisingly, the full annual vacation entitlement is gained after six consecutive months of employment. The statutory minimum amount of time off an employer must grant …

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Details of how Mrs Merkel’s new administration wants to be “Shaping Germany’s Future”

Almost three months after the general election, the biggest political parties CDU/CSU and SPD have agreed to form a joint administration under the lead of Chancellor Angela Merkel.  In a 185-page coalition agreement named “Shaping Germany`s Future”  the parties have specified their plans and contemplated actions in respect of the forthcoming legislative period. In this post we will outline the key points relating to employment and labour issues that might be relevant to your business and your daily work. However, it remains to be seen if all of these projects will be implemented in the form described in the coalition deal. …

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