New to age limits: What is allowed, what is not allowed?

Age limits remain a permanent issue in employment law in Europe. They come into play in different ways: On the one hand, as a maximum age limit for the commencement of a particular career;  on the other hand – even more relevant – as an age limit at which the employment relationship automatically terminates. A third similar case  is the provision of benefits (for example additional leave days) from or to a certain age. All …

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German Employee Boardroom Participation under European Scrutiny

On 4 May 2017, the Advocate General delivered his Opinion in the case of TUI/Erzberger (docket number: C-566/15) in front of the ECJ and found that the German provisions on employee participation do not violate European law. He has now been confirmed by the ECJ on 18 July 2017. The Higher Regional Court Berlin (Kammergericht Berlin) referred the following question to the ECJ: Do, the German provisions on employee participation conform with European Law? In …

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Beware of invalid temporal limits of work contracts

The agreement on a time limit for the employment contract is a practice frequently used in Germany, in order to escape the restrictions on the right to protection. Caution is, however, required, since a fixed term is only permitted under special statutory conditions. On the one hand, it is necessary to examine whether there is a material reason for the limitation or if the special conditions for an unconditional limitation, which are strictly limited, are …

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Occupational Pensions: Deteriorating replacement of a works agreement in the course of a transfer of business

By judgment of 08.02.2017 (4 Sa 34/16) the Regional Labour Court Baden-Württemberg has ruled that an occupational pension scheme can be worsened by a transfer of business in accordance with § 613a of the German Civil Code (BGB) if a works agreement existing at the seller is replaced by a less favorable works agreement existing at the acquirer. The parties were in dispute about the legal basis for the plaintiff’s occupational pension payments. The plaintiff’s …

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Act on Uniformity of Collective Agreements (Tarifeinheitsgesetz) in most parts compatible with the German Constitution (Grundgesetz, GG)

The constitutionality of the Act on Uniformity of Collective Agreements has been a widely debated issue since it came into force in July 2015. Just recently – on 11 July 2017 – the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) confirmed that the provisions of this Act are compatible with the German Constitution for the most part (docket-numbers: 1 BvR 1571/15, 1 BvR 1477/16, 1 BvR 1043/16, 1 BvR 2883/15, 1 BvR 1588/15). The Act prescribes …

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Occupational Pensions: Clause of general terms and conditions according to which only a “present” wife of an employee is entitled to survivors’ benefits can constitute inadmissible disadvantage

By judgment of 21.02.2017 (3 AZR 297/15) the Federal Labor Court has ruled that a clause in general terms and conditions according to which only a “present” wife of an employee is entitled to a survivor’s pension constitutes an unreasonable disadvantage for the employee and therefore is invalid according to § 307 para (1) sentence 1 of German Civil Code (BGB). However, if the pension promise had been granted before 1 January 2002, this would …

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Rail Cartel: Which court is competent for recovery claims against a former manager?

This is the first case in Germany in which a company has claimed for recovery from a former manager because he (allegedly) was responsible for the company infringing competion law. The decision of the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht) was thus eagerly awaited. By judgment of 29 June 2017 (docket number 8 AZR 189/15), the Federal Labour Court annulled the former judgment and referred it back to the court of appeal in order to make further determinations. According to the published press release it could not …

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Change of jurisdiction of the Federal Labour Court of Germany: Consequence of unauthorized instructions

Of central importance in German labour law is the right of the employer to issue instructions to employees with regard to the content, location and time of the work (sec 106 of the German Trade Regulation Act “Gewerbeordnung”). If admissible instructions are given, the employee is obliged to follow them. If he does not follow them,  this is a breach of duty which, in individual cases, may  lead to termination. The situation is problematic, however, …

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Special case of termination protection: Third parties’ pressure to terminate an employee

The German right of termination is known to be quite strict. A reason for termination is always necessary. It is herefore surprising that such a reason exists even if third parties exert pressure on the employer to terminate the contract (“Druckkündigung”). The basics are presented below. By judgment of 15.12.2016 ( docket number 2 AZR 431/15), the Federal Labour Court of Germany (“Bundesarbeitsgericht”) has now further developed the information and defence duties of the employer …

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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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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 of which schoolgirls, interns and students will also be entitled to statutory protection. The period of protection of mothers after …

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Shortened notice period during probationary period requires clear language

German law allows a short notice period of two weeks during a probationary period, which can be agreed for up to six months. However, if the employment contract generally provides for a longer notice period, without making clear that this longer notice period only applies after the end of the probationary period, that longer notice period will also apply during the probationary period. Following this judgment by the Federal Labour Court dated 23 March 2017 …

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Non-compete clauses – No Compensation for Abstention – Severability Clause

Non-compete provisions valid for the period after an employment relationship has ended are invalid unless the agreement provides for a compensation payment of 50% of the employee’s former salary during the entire duration of the post-contractual non-compete obligation. This decision by the German Federal Employment Court (docket no. 10 AZR 448/15, dated March 22, 2017) was made after a plaintiff filed a claim for monthly compensation for abstention after she had her employment contract terminated. …

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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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Revision of the Law on Temporary Work from 1 April 2017

The German Parliament (Bundestag), with the approval of the Federal Council (Bundesrat), has passed amendments to the “Law on Temporary Work”. The new rules will enter into force on 1 April 2017 and do not only have impact on leasing personnel but also on work and service contracts. The key changes introduced by the reform are summarized as follows: The deployment of temporary workers to the same hirer is limited to a maximum duration of …

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