Topic: Germany

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Is it possible for employers to change the terms of employment contracts?

At first sight, the answer to this question would be: only by mutual agreement. But once you take a closer look there are many ways and situations that make it possible for an employer to unilaterally change the contractual terms. Collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) are binding for members of those employers’ associations (firms)  and labour … Continue reading

What protection do employees have against race discrimination in Germany?

Due to the large number of refugees now living in Germany, protection against race discrimination has recently become an issue of greater importance. Under the German Anti-Discrimination-Act, which is derived from European directives, all employees in Germany, including apprentices and job applicants, are legally protected against discrimination on grounds of race or ethnic origin. In … Continue reading

Enforcing employee restraints of trade after termination of employment – an update

The legal framework for post-contractual non-compete covenants is unchanged since our last post on the topic in 2013. It is nevertheless worth mentioning the following interesting court decisions which deal with the enforceability of employee restraints and the employer’s obligation to pay compensation: Pursuant to the statutory provisions in sec. 74 et. seq. German Commercial … Continue reading

(Night-)Time is Money

Even though, unarguably, few employees would give up a good night’s sleep in order to work night shifts, operational necessity often dictates otherwise. Certain businesses can only remain competitive and survive in the market if they require their employees to work during night-time. Parcel services, bakeries and hospitals are just a few examples of businesses … Continue reading

What are the employment implications of the transfer of a business in Germany?

The employment implications of the transfer of a business are regulated by sec. 613a German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch – BGB). A transfer of a business takes place where an economic entity is transferred by a legal transaction and the economic entity is continued by the new owner of the business. In order to determine whether such … Continue reading

What protection from discrimination do employees have on grounds of gender in Germany?

All employees in Germany, including apprentices and job applicants, are fully protected against discrimination on grounds of gender under the German Anti-Discrimination-Act which is derived from European directives. In particular, it is unlawful to discriminate during the recruitment or promotion process. It is also unlawful to discriminate on grounds of gender in the giving of … Continue reading

Notice Rights – What Rights Do Employees Have To Notice On Termination Of Employment

Notice rights have the purpose of giving the employee the opportunity to take appropriate measures in preparation for the termination. The obligation of the employer to adhere to certain notice periods and the length of these notice periods depend - amongst other things - on the characterisation of the termination and the duration of the … Continue reading

Altersdiskriminierung bei Kündigung im Kleinbetrieb

Eine altersdiskriminierende Kündigung kann unwirksam sein und Entschädigungsansprüche auslösen. Dies gilt auch im Kleinbetrieb, obwohl dort eine Kündigung grdsl. ohne Grund möglich ist. In der Entscheidung ging es um eine 1950 geborene Klägerin, die seit gut 20 Jahren bei einer Arztpraxis als Arzthelferin beschäftigt war. In der Praxis waren noch vier (jüngere) Arbeitnehmerinnen angestellt. Die … Continue reading

What protection from discrimination do employees have on the grounds of sexual orientation in Germany?

Discrimination against people on grounds of their sexual orientation is a topic widely discussed in European politics. For example, only recently, in Ireland marriage between same sex partners became lawful. In Germany, it is still not possible for same sex partners to marry. They can only enter into a so-called registered civil partnership (eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft), … Continue reading

Rechtsprechungsänderung: Keine Urlaubskürzung wegen Elternzeit nach Beendigung des Arbeitsverhältnisses

Das Bundesarbeitsgericht änderte mit Urteil vom 19.05.2015 seine Rechtsprechung zur Kürzung von Urlaubsansprüchen, die während einer Elternzeit entstehen. Grundsätzlich entsteht auch während einer Elternzeit eines Arbeitnehmers ein Urlaubsanspruch. Endet das Arbeitsverhältnis nach Ablauf der Elternzeit, steht dem Arbeitnehmer ein Abgeltungsanspruch für den nicht genommenen Urlaub in Geld zu. Das bedeutet beispielsweise, dass der Arbeitnehmer, der … Continue reading

What protection do employees have against discrimination on grounds of age?

In Germany, employees may not be treated adversely on the grounds of race, ethnic origin, gender, religion, secular belief, disability, sexual identity or age. Any provisions in agreements which violate the prohibition of adverse treatment are invalid. Where there has been adverse treatment, the employer is obliged to pay the affected employee compensation unless the … Continue reading

Collective consultation on redundancy – what obligations do employers have?

In Germany, an employer must comply with certain consultation obligations when dismissing an employee. Failure to do so may result in the dismissal being held null and void by a labour court or the court awarding compensation to the affected employees. The works council and dismissals Prior to giving notice of termination, an employer must … Continue reading

Religious and other beliefs – what protection from discrimination do employees have in Germany?

Although religious and other beliefs should not play any role in employment decisions, there are a significant number of labor court decisions, including of recent date, dealing with employees’ protection against discrimination for this reason. During the hiring process, the employer is not allowed to ask about the employee’s religion or which religious beliefs the … Continue reading

No automatic presumption of good assessments in employment references in Germany

Good news for all employers: The German Federal Labour Court has recently reversed the disastrous judgment of the Regional Labour Court of Berlin-Brandenburg concerning the allocation of the burden of proof with regard to assessments in employment references. Basic principles re employment references In Germany, upon termination of the employment relationship employees can claim for … Continue reading

Der arbeitsrechtliche Hintergrund der derzeitigen Streiks bei der Bahn

Arg strapaziert wird derzeit der Geduldsfaden der Bahnkunden – über Tage hinweg legten Gewerkschaften den Bahnverkehr mit Streiks lahm. Da eine Einigung der Lokführergewerkschaft GdL bzw. der Eisenbahnergewerkschaft EVG mit der Deutschen Bahn noch immer nicht in Sicht ist, ist zudem bis Weihnachten mit weiteren Streiks zu rechnen. Doch was ist der Hintergrund der verhärteten … Continue reading

Employees’ rights and obligations relating to the use of social media in Germany

In Germany 80% of all internet users are registered in social networks and 70% of all internet users actively make use of social networks. This development is also increasingly having an impact on the world of employment. Social media and recruitment In general, German data protection legislation allows the employer to collect and use an … Continue reading

Reform of the German Law On Parental Allowance And Parental Leave (Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz – BEEG)

On 7 November 2014 the German Bundestag passed the reform of the German Law On Parental Allowance And Parental Leave (Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz – BEEG). The purpose of this reform is to improve the compatibility of work and family life for parents on a partnership basis. In essence, the main revisions – that will most … Continue reading

Disability – what protection from discrimination do disabled employees have in Germany?

In Germany, discriminating against disabled employees is prohibited by the General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz). This law provides very comprehensive protection against discrimination of any kind. In addition, severely disabled employees have special rights and protection under the German Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch IX). 1          General Equal Treatment Act As this law transposed a European … Continue reading

Confirmation of the jurisdiction re long-term assignment of temporary workers

The claimant had been working for the defendant hospital as a temporary worker since 1 August 2008. Against the background that the German Temporary Employment Act only provides for assignments that are limited in time, the claimant argued that an employment relationship between her and the hospital had been created by law because of her … Continue reading

Flexible working in Germany – achieving a work-life balance

In the current “war for talents” that German employers increasingly have to fight, a good work-life balance is an important requirement for most job applicants. But it is an equally valuable selling point for employers in order to retain their current employees! Therefore, one sees companies already offering e.g. much more flexible working models providing … Continue reading
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