Dr Antje-Kathrin Uhl

Antje-Kathrin Uhl

Updates

Employment & Benefits

Differentiation criteria in regulations concerning severance payments in social plans
Germany | 21 September 2016

A social plan usually contains provisions regarding the amount of severance payments paid to employees who lose their jobs. In practice, employees who are about to retire often receive lower severance payments than younger employees. The Federal Employment Court recently decided that this differentiation is not permitted if the employee is entitled to early retirement only because he or she is disabled.

Permissibility of eliminating bonus payments during an economic crisis
Germany | 21 August 2013

In the wake of the financial crisis, courts have frequently had to address whether an employer has the right to eliminate an employee's bonus, even if the employee has achieved his or her personal targets. For companies to avoid high bonus payments when financial results are poor, it should be clearly stipulated in the employment contract that financial results are the primary requirement for granting the bonus.

Breach of prohibition on competition – other earnings during garden leave
Germany | 20 March 2013

A recent Federal Labour Court decision dismissed a claim of a former employer to surrender the remuneration which the employee had received from a competitor. The court assumed that the contractual non-compete clause continued to apply during garden leave. The result of the decision means that the employer must continue to pay the employee, while the employee also draws a salary from the competitor.

Refunding legal costs and fines: risks and rights
Germany | 13 March 2013

Is it lawful for an employer to bear the costs of fines and legal defence for criminal proceedings against one of its employees for illegal acts committed in the context of his or her work? Does the employee have a right to have such costs refunded? An employer may have to consider these issues if an employee oversteps legal boundaries in the company's commercial interest.

Revoking the right to use a company car
Germany | 05 December 2012

The provision of a company car that is also for private use is a popular way of promoting employee loyalty. However, disputes often arise when the employer demands that the car be returned. Under what conditions is this possible, and must the employer observe a notice period?

Special legal status of key employees
Germany | 14 November 2012

Under employment law, key employees are subject to a number of special provisions which are beneficial to the employer. However, this does not automatically make all employees with managerial responsibilities key employees, because the statutory requirements attached to this status are very high.

Risks when remunerating works council members
Germany | 29 August 2012

Pursuant to the Works Council Constitution Act, works council members may not be given preferential treatment over other employees on the grounds of their activities. Granting prohibited economic benefits may have serious consequences, potentially leading to criminal charges for all parties.

Successful assertion of compensation claims with respect to employees
Germany | 25 July 2012

Compensation cases commenced by employers against employees normally succeed only if they are prepared in detail, on a sound basis, and if the employer has all evidence required to prove that the employee has acted wrongly. Suspending a compensation case in preference to a criminal law investigation rarely gives the employer the desired result.

Federal Labour Court rules on severe disability
Germany | 18 April 2012

In a recent decision, the Federal Labour Court issued a ruling in a case concerning an employer which had enquired whether an employee was disabled during the employment relationship. The court ruled that in future the employer would be allowed to enquire about disabilities during the employment relationship. Although it may not first appear so, this decision is positive for severely disabled employees.

When entitlement to leave lapses under EU law – a neverending story?
Germany | 01 February 2012

Two recent European Court of Justice decisions have made fundamental changes to German law regarding entitlement to leave. In future, the parties to collective bargaining agreements in Germany will not be prevented from agreeing a forfeiture deadline for leave transferred as the result of an inability to work. However, the collective bargaining parties cannot be expected to make use of this option across the board.

Is it still possible to dismiss a data protection officer?
Germany | 30 November 2011

In order to fulfil their statutory duty to appoint a data protection officer, many employers assign this position to an employee. However, once an internal data protection officer has been appointed, he or she enjoys special protection from dismissal and removal from office under German law. This update addresses the issue of whether and in what circumstances it is possible for the employer to revoke an appointment of a data protection officer and to terminate his or her employment.

Funding of social compensation plans in group companies
Germany | 26 October 2011

When calculating social compensation payments, in principle it is the financial situation of each employer and thus the specific company concerned which is decisive. However, the Federal Employment Court has decided that in cases in which assets are withdrawn from a (hived-down) company as a result of a division pursuant to Section 123 of the Transformation of Companies Act, the financial situation of the affiliated companies must also be taken into consideration.

European Court of Human Rights protects whistleblowers from dismissal
Germany | 07 September 2011

In a recent case involving a geriatric nurse who reported her employer for falsely claiming to provide adequate care, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the German courts' position on whistleblowing violated the right to freedom of expression. This decision is likely to lead to calls for the introduction of new legislation to protect whistleblowers from dismissal.

Flash mobs and social plans: new challenges in industrial action
Germany | 30 June 2010

The legality of industrial action largely depends on how the courts interpret the freedom to engage in industrial action, which is enshrined in the Basic Law. The key principle of the right to take industrial action is equality of arms between the parties. This update discusses the phenomenon of 'flash mobs' and collective social plans in the context of industrial disputes.

Instruments for flexible remuneration
Germany | 10 February 2010

Flexible remuneration models have gained increased significance for companies in recent times. On the one hand, the economic uncertainty means that companies must make cuts. On the other hand, employees should be in a position to profit in the event of an economic upturn. Employers have a number of interesting ways in which to draft contracts in order to assist in accomplishing this balancing act.

Employee Rights During the Restructuring of Insolvent Companies
Germany | 26 August 2009

In times of economic and financial crisis an increasing number of companies are affected by insolvency. Insolvency generally goes hand in hand with restructuring, which in turn often necessitates redundancies. This update outlines a number of employment-related issues which arise when a company files for insolvency.

White Collar Crime

Refunding legal costs and fines: risks and rights
Germany | 11 March 2013

Is it lawful for an employer to bear the costs of fines and legal defence for criminal proceedings against one of its employees for illegal acts committed in the context of his or her work? Does the employee have a right to have such costs refunded? An employer may have to consider these issues if an employee oversteps legal boundaries in the company's commercial interest.

Successful assertion of compensation claims with respect to employees
Germany | 23 July 2012

It can happen to any employer: certain employees turn out to be black sheep and their conduct, which may even be criminal, causes the company considerable economic loss. In such cases, the employer may not only dismiss the employee, but may also consider whether it can successfully claim damages and whether it would be helpful to file a criminal complaint with the Public Prosecutor's Office.