German Employment Lawyer

Legal Solutions Made in Germany


Legal Solutions Made in Germany

The certified specialists in employment law at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte advise employees and employers on their rights and responsibilities under German law. From our offices in Aachen, Düsseldorf and Cologne as well as our conference rooms throughout Germany we advise clients from all industries.

Employment Law Services
for Employers and Companies

Companies and employers should consult with employment lawyers to ensure that best practices and proper guidelines are in place within the company. Such diligence and expertise prevents costly litigation from arising.

Employment Law Services
for Employees

Employees should consult with employment law specialists when facing difficult questions regarding discrimination and bullying within the workplace, and in matters of unfair dismissal and severance pay.

Employment Law Advice for Companies & Management

As a managing director, employer or manager it is vital that you receive the best employment law advice. Such legal assistance is crucial in drafting employment contracts, creating anti-discrimination policies, designing employment termination agreements and understanding your own rights and obligations. Regardless of which industry you are in, having legal counsel of the highest order in your corner provides huge advantages. Unsuccessful employment cases can be damaging financially and reputationally. Having the right policies, procedures and legal support in place will also increase your employees’ motivation in the workplace.

Our Employment Law Services for Employers

Advising Managing Directors, Employers and Managers

Managing directors and employers must consider many critical legal factors during their work. Although there are great benefits in taking the role of a managing director, there are also huge responsibilities and risks involved. Suppose you have recently become a managing director or are currently considering taking on such a role. In that case, it is advisable to read our article on the risks and opportunities involved in such a role. Our employment lawyers can advise you further on your legal responsibilities.

As an employer, you have legal responsibilities when communicating with your employees. Find out the legal requirements regarding the issuing of instructions and writing warning letters. Not overstepping your legal obligations is the best way of preventing legal disputes from arising. Our lawyers also advise managing directors and other managers on designing policies and procedures in the workplace. We will ensure that your business is compliant with anti-discrimination requirements and seek to ensure there are steps in place to prevent claims of harassment or bullying.

AUG License Applications and Employee Leasing

The AUG license (Arbeitnemerüberlassung License) allows companies and agencies to send contractors to provide their services for end-users in Germany. Employee leasing has become a popular means for companies to resolve short-term employment issues and has proven to be enormously beneficial in specific industries. the leased employee market consists of highly qualified workers whose skills may be perfectly suited to a short-term project. For short-term projects, starting in a confident manner is often key to success, and leasing employees with the required attributes often saves time and money that would be spent on training internal employees, or in looking to bring in an employee for the role. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our certified employment lawyers will provide you with clear guidance on all matters relating to employee leasing and gaining the AUG license.

However, leasing employees can also bring up legal difficulties and disputes. There are times when legal conflicts may arise between the agency worker, the agency and the company hiring the worker. The relationship between the three parties can be blurred at times. Our legal professionals advise companies, agencies and temporary workers on their rights in all employment law matters.

Drafting Employment Contracts

The employment contract is the basis of the employment relationship. As an employer, it is critical to ensure that your contracts are fit for purpose. Expertly drafted employment contracts means that everyone is aware of the expectations within the company, and allows the relationship to be clear from the start. Clear, unambiguous, legally compliant and enforceable employment contracts are in the best interest of your business, and can prevent costly legal disputes.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our full-service and multidisciplinary model ensures that your company will receive comprehensive cover in the drafting of your employment contracts. Our employment lawyers work in tandem with our contract law team to ensure that the employment contracts are tailored to your company’s precise needs. This service includes drafting standard form employment contracts that can be used with multiple employees and tailored contracts for senior executives. Additionally, our team can take the responsibility for drafting other employment documents for the business’ needs.

Termination of Employment and Employment Termination Agreements

Terminating employment carries certain risks. It is within the employer’s right to terminate an employee’s employment contract with the company, but many legal aspects need to be considered. Firstly, the dismissal must be fair. Fairness refers to the reason for dismissal (ensuring that discrimination has not played a role in the dismissal) and how the dismissal is carried out. Secondly, the required notice periods need to be respected. Such notice periods can differ depending on how long the employee has been a part of the company. Thirdly, according to § 623 BGB, the termination intent should be provided in writing.

The above are the rules for ordinary termination. However, there are also grounds for extraordinary termination where notice periods do not apply. Extraordinary terminations are allowed under § 626 Paragraph 1 BGB.  Extraordinary termination needs to have a reason given, as it is only given in exceptional cases, namely in serious misconduct, such as refusal to work and criminal offences. Employers should be wary in such cases, as extraordinary dismissal can leave them open to legal challenges. Consulting with a legal professional in advance provides peace of mind before making the decision to issue the dismissal.

Terminations can also be arranged by contract through employment termination agreements.

Labour Relations: Works Councils, Disputes & Litigation

Employee participation in private sector companies often occurs through the “works council”. Its value is not limited to the mere exercise of co-determination and participation rights but also in that employee representation is directly linked to internal structures. Participation in company decisions also increases commitment and the sense of belonging and responsibility towards the company. This sense of belonging and responsibility, in turn, lifts motivation and allows employees to feel that they have some power in their company. Such stimulation can result in greater creativity and increased productivity in the company.

However, disputes can arise between works councils and employers. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our team can provide the basis for successful cooperation between the different bodies through professional advice and mediation. In matters of dispute, our lawyers employ the skills they have from litigation, arbitration, negotiation and contract analysis to resolve conflicts. Furthermore, in such issues, our team can provide recommendations to repair any damage caused to the employer-employee relationship and, thus, ensure that the parties can cooperate.

Posting Employees Abroad or to Germany from Abroad

For companies and the employee there are great benefits to be gained when posting employees abroad. Posting an employee abroad can benefit the company by allowing a diligent employee to assist a subsidiary in another jurisdiction. Such a move provides that employee with very useful experience that they can bring back to the company afterwards. Moreover, experiencing the work culture in another part of the world can be a huge advantage in global business. However, important legal responsibilities arise when determining which employee can be posted abroad. Concerns arise regarding the duration of the posting, the matter of remuneration and the conditions for returning. Consulting with legal professionals in advance of finalising the posting should be strongly considered to protect the company and the employee.

As a full-service law firm, our lawyers can provide all the assistance needing relating to the immigration law – visas, work permits etc. – and employment contract aspects of such a move. Additionally, we can protect employees from tax traps and problems with social security. By engaging with our services, both the company and the employee will be set up for the posting in foreign countries.

Employment Law Support for Employees

As an employee involved in a legal dispute with your employer, it is in your interest to receive the best advice that you can. Your employer will be in a stronger position upon taking the case; however, having a certified specialist in employment law on your side will rebalance the matter. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our certified specialists in employment law, Dr Thomas Bichat and Jens Schmidt, have worked with clients worldwide in their dealings with German employment law. As experts, they advise and support clients in all matters of German employment law. With offices and conference rooms around the major cities of Germany, our team is ready to advise you in your legal dispute.

Employment Contract, Annual Leave and Wage law

The employment contract is the cornerstone of the relationship between the employee and the employer. This document will outline matters such as the job description, the pay rate, the start of the employment relationship, the working hours, holiday periods, the place of work, parental leave, notice periods and other matters such as non-competition and confidentiality clauses. Careful examination of the employment contract is necessary. In practice, the use of inexpertly drafted (model) contracts can often be a common cause of disputes between employees and employers. Employment contracts are regulated by several German laws, with provisions relating to annual leave, maternity protection and notice periods. If you believe that your employer has breached your employment contract, or that there are provisions within the agreement that need to be contested, it is advisable to get professional legal counsel.

Notice Periods

Whether you are an employee or an employer in Germany, it is vital to know the law regarding notice periods. Notice periods are vital for allowing both employees and employers to plan for the future. The requirement for a notice period is dependent on the nature of the dismissal, and the period of time involved in the notice period is based on a variety of factors, primarily the length of time a person has worked with a firm. Usually, notice periods are outlined in the employment contract between the contractual parties. If the contract does not outline the timeframes, the notice periods are then legislated for by statutory requirements under § 622 German Civil Code.

Severance Pay

Employees in Germany do not have a statutory legal claim to severance pay in Germany upon termination of their employment relationship. However, there are exceptions where employees can claim payment of such a severance payment. Corresponding compensation regulations that justify such claims can be found in social compensation plans, collective bargaining agreements, management contracts and even in employment contracts. In addition, the parties to an employment contract may voluntarily enter into a contractual agreement on a severance payment upon termination of the employment relationship under a termination or settlement agreement.

Support in Sexual Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination Cases

Employees should feel safe and respected in the workplace. Sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination are just some of the ways by which employees can feel unsafe. Should you face these issues at your workplace from fellow employees or management, it is advisable to read about your legal rights and entitlements. Employers need to be proactive in creating an atmosphere of tolerance and respect. Companies can achieve this environment by having the right policies and procedures. If you have experienced discrimination, bullying or sexual harassment in the workplace, it is in your interest to contact an experienced legal professional, particularly if you seek to bring a case against your employer.

Unfair Dismissal

Although employers have the right to terminate employment, unfair dismissal cases are taken very seriously by the courts. There are many examples where termination is invalid. For example, an employer must always give notice of termination in writing; if they do not do so, it may be invalid (§ 623 BGB). A notice of termination is likely to be deemed unfair if they gave it to a pregnant woman during pregnancy and without the prior consent of the occupational health and safety authority (§ 17 Mother Protection Act). But even in situations that are not so clear cut, there may be benefits in bringing your case to our professionals.

For example, a person may have been dismissed based on their conduct but only received a vague warning before that action. Maybe the alleged misconduct did not occur, or the person deemed responsible was not involved with the act. Cases can also be brought where a person was dismissed for stated “operational reasons”, but younger and less long-standing colleagues who do the same work were not dismissed. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our employment lawyers will examine your case and determine whether you can take action for unfair dismissal.