Works Council

Time Recording Systems Jumpstarted by the Works Council?

In an earlier ruling this year, the European Court of Justice held that European member states must require employers to introduce systems for recording the working time of their employees. However, since there is no German law stipulating time recording( with the exception of overtime recording duties) yet, typically it is up to the employer whether or not to introduce consistent time recording mechanisms. In the underlying case, the works council wanted to force the …

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Works Council’s right to know about work accidents also extends to external staff

According to a judgment by the Federal Labour Court, the works council may request information about work accidents suffered by individuals who are employed by an external party, if these works accidents were suffered in connection with the operational infrastructure (judgment dated 12 March 2019, docket number 1 ABR 48/17). The company, a delivery service provider, used both its own staff as well as contractors to provide these services. When two contractors slipped and thus …

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Change in Work Constitution Act to Increase Employee Representation

Following a legislative reform earlier this year, flight crews’ rights to obtain employee representation through a works council have been improved. While employees from (almost) all fields of work can choose to elect a works council, sec. 117 of the Works Constitution Act formerly provided for an exemption for flight crews. Flight crews were only able to establish an employee representative body if their collective bargaining agreement provided for such representation. Consequently, only flight crews …

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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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Works Council has Right of Co-Determination Concerning Employer’s Twitter Account

On September 13, 2018 the State Labour Court Hamburg (docket number 2 TaBV 5/18) ruled that works councils have a right of co-determination concerning the employer’s Twitter account in accordance with Sec. 87 Para. 1 No. 6 Works Constitution Act as Twitter is a technical device designed to monitor the behaviour or performance of the employees. The respondent in this trial is an employer which operates several cinemas in Germany. It created a Twitter account …

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Notices of termination may not be signed before mass dismissal notification has been submitted

With its judgment dated 21 August 2018, the Higher Regional Labour Court of Baden-Wurttemberg (Landesarbeitsgericht Baden-Württemberg) decided that the dismissal of an employee as part of a mass redundancy is invalid if the notice of termination is signed prior to receipt of the mass dismissal notification to the authority. The time of the receipt of notice of termination by the employee is irrelevant (docket number: 12 Sa 17/18). Under German law, the Employment Office must …

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Appointment of a Conciliation Committee dealing with the subject of a No Smoking Policy

Under German law, works councils have so-called co-determination rights on certain subjects. This means that an employer must reach an agreement with the works council on these matters, such as rules and policies for employee conduct. Works council co-determination is, however, excluded if there are binding and final statutory provisions dealing with a certain matter. If no agreement can be reached through negotiations between the works council and the employer, a so-called conciliation committee will …

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Co-determination right if the employer sets up and operates a Twitter account

In a judgment dated 13 September 2018 the Higher Labour Court of Hamburg (docket number 2 TaBV 5/18) ruled that if the employer operates a Twitter account, at least on the basis of the reply function, the (general) works council has a co-determination right according to section 87 para. 1 no. 6 Works Council Constitution Act (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz). The co-determination right does not require that the technical facility is designed to monitor the performance and behaviour of employees. It …

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No co-determination rights of the works council for stock options issued by a foreign parent company

In a judgment dated 3 August 2017, the Higher Regional Labour Court of Hessen has held that a works council’s co-determination rights do not extend to stock option plans by an employer’s foreign parent company (docket number 5 TaBV 23/17).   Under German law, works councils have a co-determination right regarding remuneration principles. In this case, the foreign parent company decided annually and independently from the local employing entity whether stock options were to be …

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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force

On 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force harmonizing the regulations for the processing of personal data by companies and public authorities within the EU. Under the GDPR, employees’ data protection rights are significantly reinforced. Infringement of the GDPR regulations may now result in high administrative fines of up to 20 million euros or up to 4% of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year. Therefore employers …

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Employer obligation to provide individual target agreements to safety authority

Employers may be required to provide safety authorities with information on individual target agreements with their employees. In a judgment dated 28 February 2018, the Dusseldorf administrative court confirmed a corresponding order by the local safety authority (docket number 29 K 4191/16). In the case at hand, the employer offers consulting services. It is bound by a local collective bargaining agreement which provides for a regular weekly working time of 38 hours. Under the CBA, …

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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 dated 19 September 2017, docket number 7 TaBV 43/17), the employer had, after initial disagreement, provided the works council with …

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Information right of the works council independent of employee consent

According to a recent judgment by the Higher Regional Labour Court in Munich (docket number 11 TaBV 36/17) of 27 September 2017, the works council is entitled to receive information regarding the existence of pregnant employees in the operation. In the case at hand, the employer had provided employees with a right to “opt out” from forwarding the employer notification about their pregnancy to the works council. If employees objected to their information being forwarded, …

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No codetermination regarding a customer feedback function within a smartphone app

On 8 June 2017 the Labour Court of Heilbronn decided that a smartphone application, provided and operated by an employer, allowing customers to share their feedback including statements about the performance and the behaviour of certain employees is not a surveillance tool according to § 87 I Nr. 6 BetrVG, if the employer does not ask for this kind of feedback and does not process the information further (judgement of the Heilbronn Labour Court dated …

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The Works Council’s right of co-determination regarding the Employer’s Facebook presence

The German Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht) decided on 13 December 2016 that the Works Council has a right of co-determination when the employer’s Facebook page allows other users to post comments, which are related to the behaviour and performance of the employees. The employer operates a blood donor service. The doctors working at the blood donation events and all other employees wear name tags during their work. The employer’s Facebook page was established as a …

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