Allowances for work on Sundays, bank holidays or at night are protected against attachment

On 23 August 2017 the Federal Labour Court ruled (judgment, 10 AZR 859/16) that allowances for work on Sundays, on bank holidays and at night are protected against attachment so far as the amount of such payments is common practice. Whether the extent and amount of such allowances are “common”, which means they are protected …

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Ineffectiveness of a suspicion termination after the disappearance of 115.000 Euro

In order to protect employees from termination where there is suspicion that they have committed a crime, such a termination is subject to very strict conditions. In particular, the probability that the suspected employee is in fact guilty of the assumed crime has to be so high that the suspicion is considered urgent. The urgency …

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Demonstrating readiness to work every three minutes is unreasonable

On 10 August 2017 the Labour Court of Berlin stated that it is unreasonable to require a taxi driver to press a button at short intervals of time in order to control the employee’s readiness to work (judgement of the Berlin Labour Court dated 10 August 2017, docket number 41 Ca 12115/16). The employee works …

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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 …

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Occupational Pensions: “Split pension formula” and pro-rata reduction of pension entitlements in accordance with European law

By judgment of 13.07.2017 (C 354/16) the European Court of Justice has ruled that a “split pension formula” and a pro-rata reduction of pension entitlements do not constitute discrimination against part-time employees or age discrimination. The employer granted to his employees a pension promise, according to which salary components above the German Social Security Contribution …

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Occupational Pensions: No right of segregation under Section 47 of the German Insolvency Act for contributions to a captive pension insurance

By judgment of 21.03.2017 (3 AZR 718/15) the Federal Labor Court has ruled that a right of segregation under Section 47 of the German Insolvency Act generally does not exist in the event that an employer ceased contribution payments to a captive pension insurance and later became insolvent. Such a right only exists if the …

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Age 60 as a legitimate reason to terminate a service relationship with a managing director

The attainment of age 60 can be agreed as an age limit in a service agreement allowing for the termination of the contract. This was decided by the Hamm Higher Regional Court in a judgment dated 19 June 2017, docket number 8 U 18/17. Such an age limit does not violate the General Equal Treatment …

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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. …

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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 …

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Penalty clause unenforceable where non-compete obligation is invalid

If a post-contractual non-compete obligation is invalid and therefore non-binding, a penalty clause intended to protect this clause is unenforceable (judgment of the Solingen labour court dated 20 June 2017, docket number 3 Ca 153/17). The employee worked for a travel agent and had mainly sold cruises. The employee’s contract included a post-contractual non-compete obligation …

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Employee’s request for fixed-term employment narrowly interpreted

Entering into a valid fixed-term contract can be a bit of a challenge under German law. Under the Fixed Term and Part-Time Employment Act (TzBfG), one of the reasons which may be used to justify a fixed-term contract is that there are reasons relating to the circumstances of the particular employee. A recent case decided …

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Inadmissible evidence through installation of a keylogger

Using a software keylogger may not always be much help in supporting a termination for cause, as a recent case before the Federal Labour Court shows (judgment dated 27 July 2017, docket number 2 AZR 681/16). The employee had worked for the employer since 2011. When opening up its network, the company informed employees that …

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Competing activities during notice period can justify an immediate termination for cause

In its judgment dated 12 April 2017 (docket number 3 Sa 202/16), the Higher Regional Labour Court of Schleswig Holstein found that activities for a competitor during an employee’s notice period may justify an immediate termination for cause. Under the employment contract, the employee had committed not to hold any shares of a company in …

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Forfeiture clause was valid to prevent employee’s claim despite not excluding minimum wage entitlement

In a judgement of 9 May 2017 (docket number 7 Sa 560/16 ) the regional labour court of Nurnberg held that a forfeiture clause which did not exclude entitlement to minimum remuneration was not invalid. The forfeiture clause simply did not apply to claims for minimum remuneration. The parties had entered into an employment contract …

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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 …

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