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Mass redundancies: A compensation of disadvantage could be offset by a social plan severance

On 12 February 2019 the Federal Labour Court (docket number 1 AZR 279/17) ruled that a social plan severance and a compensation of disadvantage (Nachteilsausgleich) need to be offset. In March 2014, the employer took the decision to shut down its operation which the plaintiff was employed in. The employer informed the works council about the mass redundancy and tried – at least for a short period – to reach a balance of interest (Interessenausgleich). …

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No Automatic Expiration of Holiday Entitlement Due to Missing Holiday Request

Judgments With judgments dated 6 November 2018 (docket number: C-619/16; C-684/16), the European Court of Justice (Europäischer Gerichtshof, EuGH) decided that an employee’s entitlement to paid holiday must not automatically expire due to a missing holiday request. Rather, the holiday entitlement should only expire if the employer is capable of approving that the employee voluntarily waived the holiday after being put in the actual position to take holiday in due time. Therefore the employer has …

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Remuneration of travel time for international assignments

I. Judgment With its judgment dated 17 October 2018, the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) decided that in cases of an employee’s temporary international assignment the employer must remunerate the time required for outward and return travel as work (docket number: 5 AZR 553/17) II. Facts The plaintiff, who is employed by the defendant as a technical assistant, has a contractual obligation to work on domestic and foreign construction sites. Therefore the plaintiff was sent …

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Judgement of the Federal Labor Court Regarding Dismissal due to Frequent Short Illnesses

With its judgment dated 25 April 2018, the Federal Labor Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) has maintained its constant jurisdiction, deciding that a disruption relevant for dismissal exists if, according to the employee’s health prognosis, costs for continued remuneration exceeding six weeks within one year are expected in future (docket number: 2 AZR 6/18).   The court had to decide under which conditions the extraordinary dismissal of an employee, whose contract cannot be ordinarily terminated under a …

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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 …

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EU Directive Draft “Whistleblowing”

On 23 April 2018, the European Commission presented its draft directive “proposal for a directive of the European parliament and of the council on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law”. The proposal is based on the official Council of Europe Recommendation on the protection of whistleblowers of 2014, according to which Member States should have a legal and institutional framework to protect persons who, in the context of their industrial relations, …

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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, docket number: 7 AZR 864/15). The plaintiff, an actor, worked for a production firm in a crime series in the …

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Peak performances of professional soccer player up to retirement not to be expected

In February 2016 we reported on a ruling of the Higher Labour Court Rheinland-Pfalz (Landesarbeitsgericht, LAG) in regard to a case of a goalkeeper who sued his former Bundesliga soccer club for unlimited employment and payment of missed bonuses (https://blogs.dlapiper.com/employmentgermany/2016/02/18/no-second-bosman-total-relief-at-bundesliga/). Almost two years later, the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) has now confirmed on 16 January 2018 (docket-number: 7 AZR 312/16), that the established practice of employing professional soccer players only on a fixed-term basis …

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The Federal Constitutional Court reviews strike ban for civil servants

The Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) is currently dealing with four constitutional complaints by teachers who had been punished for participating in protests and warning strikes. A judgment is expected in several months (docket numbers: 2 BvR 1738/12, 2 BvR 1395/13, 2 BvR 1068/14, 2 BvR 646/15). Under current German law, civil servants are not allowed to participate in strikes for more money and better working conditions. Civil servants fall within the scope of the so …

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Reform of the German Occupational Pension Act (“Betriebsrentengesetz”)

Effective January 1, 2018, the German Occupational Pension Act will be reformed by the Act to Strengthen Occupational Pensions (“Betriebsrentenstärkungsgesetz“), adopted by the German Parliament on 1 June 2017. In 2002, the German legislator issued a difficult challenge to the area of occupational pension provision with the introduction of the so-called “Riester Reform”. Together with the subsidised private “Riester pension”, occupational pensions were intended to compensate for the cuts to state pensions that had already …

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Suspicion of pretended sickness and activities for a competing company generally justified surveillance by a detective and immediate termination for cause

A new judgment of the Federal Labour Court (dated 29.6.2017, docket number 2 AZR 597/16) supports previous judgments concerning termination based on suspicion of breach of duties and furthermore sheds  light on the permissibility of carrying out surveillance on employees through a detective to clarify such suspicions. In the case at hand the employee and employer argued about the effectiveness of an extraordinary dismissal. The employee was repeatedly certified unfit to work in 2014 and …

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Occupational Pensions: Free bus ticket for wife to be considered as pension

By judgment of 23.06.2017 (6 Sa 173/17) the Regional Labour Court of Düsseldorf has ruled that with regard to the period from which the employee receives a pension, a free bus ticket provided by the employer to the employee’s wife is to be considered to be an occupational pension and therefore cannot be revoked. The employer, a transport company, granted his employees and their husbands/wives a free bus ticket both for the period of employment …

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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 …

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Dismissal Protection Act not applicable to managing directors despite employee status

While recent EU law developments on the potential employee status of managing directors (cf. ECJ, June 9, 2015, docket no. C-229/14 – Balkaya) and decisions of the German Federal Labour Court regarding the procedural issue of giving managing directors access to the Labour Courts under certain circumstances have somewhat blurred the dividing lines between managing directors and employees, a recent decision of the Higher Labour Court of Berlin-Brandenburg seems to bring some clarity to the …

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Background checks aka pre-employment screenings in Germany

Many companies refuse to settle for the information provided by the applicant on job applications and in personal interviews. So-called background checks (also known as “pre-employment screenings”) therefore enjoy great popularity among employers in the US and the UK as a measure to investigate the potential employee’s background. This screening may be conducted by the company’s own staff, or, increasingly, by third party companies that specialize in background screening. In both cases, validation of the …

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