Labour Law

We advise and represent companies (employers), board members and managing directors as well as employees and works councils on all questions of individual and collective labour law. Thus, we have experience from different perspectives, which we can use tactically and strategically.

We conduct negotiations for you and represent you in or out of court. Especially in the field of labour law, reliable negotiating skills and negotiating security are essential. Due to our two main areas of expertise – law and business mediation – we can provide you with comprehensive support and solve disputes in a cooperative and creative manner.

You might also ask yourself one of the following questions …

If you, as an employee, want to take action against a dismissal, it is not sufficient to object to the dismissal with your employer; instead, a lawsuit must be filled.

It is essential to observe the three-week period for taking legal action in accordance with the German Unfair Dismissal Protection Act (§ 4 KSchG),  even if no other provisions of this law apply. This period begins with your receipt of the letter of termination. If you do not assert the invalidity in due time, the termination shall be deemed legally effective from the beginning (§ 7 KSchG).

If the employment relationship is terminated, this does not generally result in a claim for severance pay, but such a claim can be indicated in individual cases.

In any case, you have a right to the issue of a job reference (Arbeitszeugnis) and to the handing over of employment documents.

Apart from this, it is possible that you can claim special protection against dismissal, especially if you are in vocational training, in military or alternative service or on parental leave. Special protection against dismissal also applies to works council members, pregnant women and severely disabled persons.

First of all, it is necessary that the will to terminate the employment relationship is clearly indicated. A justification, however, is generally not required.

According to the German Civil Code (§ 623 BGB), the termination must be made in writing and any electronic form is excluded. It is, therefore, not sufficient to give notice of termination by e-mail or fax; a handwritten signature is required. If the written form is not observed, the notice of termination is null and void, § 125 BGB.

A notice period is determined by law, collective agreement or employment contract. If no more specific rules apply, a statutory period of four weeks is required according to § 622 BGB. In principle, notice of termination can be given on the fifteenth day or at the end of a calendar month.

First of all, it is necessary that the will to terminate the employment relationship is clearly indicated.

According to § 623 BGB, the termination must be made in writing, and any electronic form is excluded. It is, therefore, not sufficient to give notice of termination by e-mail or fax. If the written form is not observed, the notice of termination is null and void, § 125 BGB.

A notice period is determined by law, collective agreement or employment contract. If no more specific rules apply, a statutory period of four weeks is required, in accordance with § 622 BGB. In principle, notice of termination can be given on the fifteenth day or at the end of a month. The longer the employment relationship in the company, the longer the period of notice for the employer according to § 622, Subsection 2, BGB. If the employment relationship has existed for 10 years, for example, the period of notice is four months to the end of a calendar month.

In the case of an extraordinary termination without notice, this notice period does not exist, but good cause must be shown. This requires that that the facts of the case constitute good cause — for example,  an employee’s insults to the employer or a persistent refusal to work. Furthermore, a comprehensive weighing of interests is carried out in each individual case.

An extraordinary termination without notice must be declared within two weeks of the reason becoming known. In addition, a prior warning is usually required.

In the case of a dismissal based on suspicion, in contrast to a dismissal based on fact, the employee must be heard before the termination is issued.

A hearing of the works council, if one exists, is also required. The lack of a hearing leads to the invalidity of the termination.

If the employment relationship falls within the scope of the Unfair Dismissal Protection Act — i.e. the employment relationship has existed for more than six months, and the company has 10 or more employees as defined in § 23 KschG   a dismissal can only take place for three reasons: for reasons in the person of the employee, in the employee’s conduct, and the dismissal for operational reasons.

A conduct-related termination occurs when an employee has not behaved according to obligations arising from his employment relationship. This is in contrast to dismissal for reasons related to the person of the employee.

Before a dismissal for conduct,  a warning notice is usually required.

Employees undergoing vocational training, military or alternative service or on parental leave, as well as works council members, are subject to special protection against dismissal.

The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender, ethnic origin, race, religion or belief, as well as disability, age or sexual identity. Violations of these rights may also give rise to claims for damages and compensation for the employee.

Maternity and Disability

Pregnant women are subject to special protection under § 9 of the Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG) during pregnancy and four months after delivery. In addition, there is a general prohibition of employment six weeks before delivery and eight weeks after.

During pregnancy, employment is not permitted at night (from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.), or on Sundays and public holidays. A pregnant woman does not have to work overtime.

Even though there is no general requirement that a pregnant employee notify her employer, this may occur in individual cases out of a sense of loyalty. However, it should be noted that the Maternity Protection Act only applies from the date of notification, onwards.

Severely disabled persons also have special protection against dismissaland  have the right to additional leave, as well as the right to refuse to work additional hours, which includes overtime.

These rights apply to people who are severely disabled as defined in the German Social Code (SGB IX), § 2, Subsection 3. When all conditions are met, this also includes people with a degree of disability between 30% and 50%.

… then we will be happy to help you.

Our services

  • Advice on the preparation of employment contracts

  • Inspection of employment contracts and other labour law agreements

    • Protection of interests and representation in the context of dismissals, in particular protection against wrongful dismissal
  • Protection of interests and representation in case of breaches of contract

  • Advice and representation of interests in cases of bullying and harassment as well as discrimination

  • Conflict prevention and consulting within companies and other organisations

Your lawyers for labour law

Ernst Henning Knigge
Ernst Henning KniggeLL.M. EUR., lawyer, banker, mediator, copyright and media law specialist
Igor Dragobetski
Igor DragobetskiAttorney at Law
Michael Freystedt
Michael FreystedtAttorney at Law

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