Mass dismissal: Employer has to notify the Employment Agency prior to the delivery of the termination notice to the individual employees

On 13 June 2019, the Federal Labour Court (docket number 6 AZR 459/18) ruled that a mass dismissal notification can be effectively filed even if the employer has already taken the decision to terminate the employment relationships at the time of its receipt by the Employment Agency. In the event of mass dismissals and subject to the fulfillment of all other statutory requirements, terminations, however, would only be effective if the employer notified the Employment Agency prior to the delivery of the termination letters to the individual employees. The parties were in dispute as to whether the defendant was able to …

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NEW CHALLENGES FOR VACATION ENTITLEMENT

1. The problem German vacation law has changed considerably in recent years. The most current question to be decided by both the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) concerned the expiration of vacation entitlements. German law (Sec. 7 para. 3 German Vacation Act, BUrlG) provides that the outstanding vacation entitlement expires at the end of the year. If employees do not assert the vacation claim in time, it is therefore lost at the end of the year. However. on 6 November 2018, the ECJ (docket number: C-684/16) ruled that the employer must inform the …

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Micro vacation – a gigantic problem?

On March, 6 2019 the State Labour Court Baden Wurttemberg (docket number 4 Sa 73/18) decided that half day vacation does not fulfil the legal requirements where employees don’t have an entitlement to request such micro vacation. In the case at issue, the plaintiff filed legal cause against his employer demanding his right to be granted a half day vacation at least 8 times a year. The employer withdraw this request, arguing there was no entitlement to half day vacations but only to vacation for a longer period. Furthermore the expenses resulting out of granting half day vacation were not …

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Member States must require employers to set up a time recording system

On 14 May 2019, the ECJ held (docket no. C-55/18), that Member States must oblige employers by law to set up a system for recording the time worked each day. In proceedings between the Federatión de Servicios de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) – a Spanish Union – and Deutsche Bank SAE concerning the lack of a system for recording the time worked each day by the workers employed by the latter, the National High Court of Spain asked the ECJ for a preliminary ruling. The proceedings had the following background: The union brought a group action before the National High Court …

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German Regional Labor Court rules: Employer’s evidence of employee‘s breach of contractual duties admissible even though employer has violated data protection law when obtaining it LAG Baden-Wuerttemberg, ruling dated 6 June 2018 – 21 Sa 48/17 Appeal filed with the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht), docket no. 2 AZR 426/18

With its judgment dated 6 June 2018 (docket number 21 Sa 48/17), the Higher Regional Labor Court of Baden-Wurttemberg (Landesarbeitsgericht Baden-Württemberg) found that an employer may use evidence proving an employee’s breach of a contractual duty against the employee, even though the evidence had only been accidentally discovered during a search of the employee’s IT-equipment. The court decided that the evidence could still be used, even if the original search itself was inadmissible pursuant to data protection regulations. However, use of such evidence shall be limited to scenarios in which the violation of the employees’ general right of privacy does …

German Regional Labor Court rules: Employer’s evidence of employee‘s breach of contractual duties admissible even though employer has violated data protection law when obtaining it LAG Baden-Wuerttemberg, ruling dated 6 June 2018 – 21 Sa 48/17 Appeal filed with the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht), docket no. 2 AZR 426/18 Read More »

Crowd Working and the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive

On 16 April the European Parliament voted to approve the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive, which is aimed at strengthening the rights of workers and improving working conditions by promoting more transparent and predictable employment whilst ensuring labour market adaptability. The Directive applies in particular to platform workers (aka crowd workers), but also covers workers including those in casual or short-term employment, on-demand workers, intermittent workers, and voucher-based workers. Genuinely self-employed persons should not fall within scope, but the Directive states that the determination of the existence of an employment relationship should be guided by facts relating to the …

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A1-form required for business trips abroad – significant fines may apply

From January 2019, employees will now generally need to carry an A1 form whenever they are normally working in, or posted to, other EEA countries in order to avoid liability for social security contributions and potential fines. In general, an employee pays social security contributions to the country they are working in. However, employees from an EEA country working in another EEA country may continue paying social security contributions in their home country and will be exempt from paying contributions in the other countries where either: the work abroad is not expected to be for more than 24 months; or …

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Unpaid leave allows for reduced vacation entitlement

In its recent decision dated 19 March 2019 the Federal Labour Court ruled that periods of unpaid leave will not be taken into consideration when calculating statutory vacation entitlements (docket number 9 AZR 315/17). In the case at hand, the employee had taken unpaid leave from 1 September 2013 until 31 August 2015. Upon returning to work, she requested statutory vacation days for 2014. Under statutory law, employees are entitled to 24 days of paid vacation based on a 6 day work week. If the employee works fewer than 6 days, the entitlement is calculated pro rata based on the …

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Termination agreements: Employees have no right of withdrawal

On February 7, 2019 the Federal Labour Court (docket number 6 AZR 75/18) ruled that employees cannot withdraw a termination agreement even if it was concluded in the private apartment of the employee. In the case at hand, however, the termination agreement might be void if the fundamentals of fair negotiation (Gebot des fairen Verhandelns) have been ignored. The parties agreed to a termination agreement in the apartment of the plaintiff. The termination agreement comprised immediate termination of the employment without any severance. The reasons and the process leading to the agreement are contested. The plaintiff argued that she was …

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Post-contractual non-compete obligation must not cover all activities for a competitor

In an indicative ruling dated August 02, 2018, the Higher Regional Court Munich (docket number 7 U 2107/18) has found that a post-contractual restraint which prohibited a managing director from working for a competitor in any way was invalid due to the lack of legitimate interests of the company. The managing director was therefore able to legitimately claim the invalidity of the non-compete obligation in the form of a preliminary injunction. The indicative ruling is based on the following facts: The claimant worked for several years as managing director of the defendant. Following the termination of the contract by the …

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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). Before both proceedings were completed properly the employer terminated all the employees for operational reasons. Subsequently, the employer and works council concluded a social plan, …

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Job advertisements asking for church membership tend to be discriminatory

In a judgment dated 25 October 2018 the Federal Labour Court (docket number 8 AZR 501/14) ruled that religious employers are no longer allowed to ask all applicants for membership of a Christian church in job advertisements. Unequal treatment on grounds of religion is only permissible if, according to the nature of the activities or the circumstances of their exercise, religion constitutes a substantial, legitimate and justified work-related requirement in light of the ethos of the religious employer. The defendant, a Protestant Church employer, had publicly advertised a temporary part-time position as a consultant for an anti-racism research project. The …

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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 and tweets on a regular basis. The applicant – the established works council at the respondent – demands that the respondent refrain from using its …

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ECJ Advocate General: Companies are obligated to record daily and weekly working hours

The advocate general of the European Court of Justice is of the opinion that the member states have to pass a law which obliges companies to record the daily and weekly working hours of their fulltime employees, who are not contractually obligated to work overtime hours and who are not mobile employees, employees of the merchant navy or in the railway sector, to ensure the effective implementation of European Directive 2003/88/EG(2). The EU wants to implement daily and weekly rest times and maximum working times mainly to promote healthy and safe working place conditions. This stands in close context with …

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Entitlement to overtime premiums regarding part-time employment

According to a judgment of the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) dated 19 December 2018 (docket number 10 AZR 231/18), part-time employees can be entitled to the payment of overtime premiums with regard to working hours that go past the agreed part-time hours but do not exceed the working hours of full-time employment. In the case in question, the Plaintiff was a part-time employee for the Defendant. A framework collective agreement, which contained regulations on, i.a., overtime premiums and the possibility to determine annual working hours, applied to her employment relationship. Annual working hours had been set for the Plaintiff, …

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