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Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek

 

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Lump Sum Remuneration for Overtime based on a (General) Works Agreement
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, September 2019

In its decision of June 26, 2019 (ref. 5 AZR 452/18), the 5th Senate of the Federal Labor Court (BAG) dealt with the requirements and limitations of overtime lump sum remuneration clauses in works agreements. So far, the decision is only available as a press release. FACTS OF THE CASE The plaintiff is a union secretary at the ver.di trade union. The parties have agreed a weekly working time of 35 hours and "trust-based working hours"...

No Expiry of Unreduced Vacation Entitlements during Parental Leave
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, September 2019

BAG of March 19 2019 - 9 AZR 495/17 The employer may reduce the vacation entitlement of a worker on parental leave by one twelfth for each full calendar month. If he does not exercise his right to reduce or if he can not prove the declaration of reduction, vacation entitlement does not expire during parental leave in accordance with Sec. 7 para. 3 BUrlG [German federal vacation law] at the end of the vacation year or the transfer period (31 March of each year)...

The Works Council has no Entitlement to the Provision of Personnel Turnover Statistics
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, September 2019

LAG Schleswig-Holstein of February 26 2019 - 2 TaBV 14/18 The works council has no entitlement to the Provision or Inspection of Personnel Turnover Statistics or Appendices thereto, if the Employer only uses these for Statistical Purposes and for Internal Controlling. The personnel turnover statistics in this case are not an instrument for personnel planning...

Exclusion of Fixed-Term Employees from a Remuneration Supplementation Violates EU Law
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, September 2019

The prohibition of discrimination against fixed-term employees has already been the subject of a large number of decisions by both the ECJ and the BAG [German Federal Labor Court]. According to these decisions, fixed-term workers may not receive poorer terms of employment compared to comparable permanent employees simply because of their fixed-term employment status. Rather, such would require substantive justification...

Search of a Company Computer by the Employer - Prohibition of Exploitation for Court Submissions?
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, September 2019

The German Federal Labor Court (BAG) ruled by judgment of January 31, 2019 (ref. no. 2 AZR 426/18) that, under certain circumstances, the employer may lawfully review data on an employee's work computer even if there is no suspicion based on factual evidence of a breach of duty. This applies to minor encroachments on personal rights, for example, in the case of actions carried out openly and restricted to files that are not marked as "private"...

Works Council’s Right to Information in Relation to Sensitive Personal Employee Data
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, September 2019

In its decision of 9 April 2019 (ref. no.: 1 ABR 51/17), the German Federal Labor Court (BAG) took position on the right of the works council to request information from the employer according to Section 80 (2) of the German Works Constitution Act (BetrVG) and clarified what data protection restrictions such a request is subject to...

The German Federal Ministry of Justice Submits a Proposal for a Corporate Sanctions Act
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, August 2019

The German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) has submitted its long-awaited proposal for a Corporate Sanctions Act (VerSanG). When corporate crimes are committed, it is making provisions for independently prosecuting the entire organization in addition to prosecuting single perpetrators...

The Permissibility of GPS Tracking from a Compliance Perspective
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, August 2019

Strict data protection requirements apply to the use of location tracking systems both in the employment context and in cooperation with other companies. In its partial judgement from March 19, 2019, the Lüneburg Administrative Court ruled in compliance with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation and the new Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG) that unrestricted tracking of employee vehicles is impermissible...

CJEU Judgment on the Facebook Like Button - A New Chapter of Joint Controllership
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, August 2019

The Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU") published its long-awaited decision on the use of the Facebook Like-Button on July 29, 2019 (Case C-40/17). One major aspect of the judgment is the question to what extent Facebook and website operators who incorporate the Like-Button into their website are joint controllers under European data protection law. As a result, the CJEU affirms this question and takes a firm stand on the conditions for joint controllership...

Notice on the Recovery of State Aid
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, August 2019

If, in the course of an in-depth assessment, the EU Commission finds that an unlawfully granted aid is incompatible with the internal market, it is obliged under Article 16 of the Procedural Regulation 2015/1589 to order the recovery of the aid by the Member State. On 23 July 2019, the Commission published an updated notice on recovery (2019/C 247/01)...

Public Financing of Infrastructure
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, August 2019

Although under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Commission has limited power regarding infrastructure policy, which remains a Member state competence, recent rulings of the ECJ regarding ports and airports have allowed it to extend its role in this area by applying the State aid rules to infrastructure financing...

Combating White Spots - Expansion of Mobile Networks
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, August 2019

Anyone in Germany who wants to make calls outside the city is sometimes not able to do so due to the numerous "white spots" in the mobile network infrastructure. In most areas of Germany, a comprehensive infrastructure is not guaranteed. An expansion by the telecommunications companies (TC) is also not foreseeable in the next three years. Therefore, many municipalities and administrative districts want to eliminate these "white spots" on their own...

Forfeiture of Vacation Entitlements - Part II
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, July 2019

In our newsletter article of March 2019, which was only based on press release No. 9/19 of the BAG [German Federal Labor Court] regarding the judgment of Feb. 19, 2019 - 9 AZR 541/15, we addressed the new case law of the BAG for informing the employer about existing vacation entitlements. In a similar case (also judgment of Feb...

Surviving Dependants’ Pensions – So-Called Late Marriage Clauses May be Discriminating, Depending on their Design
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, July 2019

BAG of Feb. 19, 2019 – 3 AZR 219/18 So-called "late marriage clauses" in surviving dependants' pension commitments may constitute an unjustified age discrimination and can therefore be ineffective, unless a specific cut-off date can be justified on the basis of a specific connecting factor particularly linked to the legal structure principles of company pension schemes. FACTS OF THE CASE A widow filed a complaint with regard to a widow's pension before the labor courts...

Transfer to an In-House "Job Service and Placement" Unit May be Subject to Prior Approval
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, July 2019

BAG, judgment of Apr. 9, 2019 – 1 ABR 30/17 The transfer of an employee after the loss of job to the care of an in-house "Job Service and Placement" unit constitutes a transfer requiring consent within the meaning of Sec. 99 para. 1 BetrVG [German works constitution act]. If the selection procedure is carried out by the parties pursuant to a framework agreement, the instruction in the approval procedure also covers the selection procedure...

Enhanced Vacation Entitlement on Grounds of Age Violates the Prohibition of Discrimination of the AGG
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, July 2019

Federal Labor Court (BAG), judgment of Dec. 11, 2018 – 9 AZR 161/18 An enhanced vacation entitlement on grounds of age where employees who have not yet reached the age of 50 are granted at least three days less vacation than older employees violates the prohibition of discrimination of Sec. 7(1) in conjunction with Sec. 1 AGG...

Insolvency Law Rank of a Severance Payment Claim pursuant to Sec. 9, 10 KSchG
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, July 2019

BAG, judgment of Mar. 14, 2019 – 6 AZR 4/18 A severance payment awarded by dissolution proceedings may either be an insolvency claim or insolvency asset liability. The time the dissolution petition was made is decisive. FACTS OF THE CASE The employer (later insolvency debtor) terminated the employment of the plaintiff before the opening of insolvency proceedings...

Draft Bill on IT Security Law 2.0
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, July 2019

There has been intense work on the IT security law 2.0 since the “German doxing case" of late 2018/early 2019 when large volumes of data of German celebrities and politicians were published. This bill will significantly extend the importance and the competences of the Federal Office for Information Security (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (“BSI”) in information technology...

Risk for International Data Transfers
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, July 2019

The international transfer of personal data is part of daily business for many companies. They work with international service providers, have affiliates abroad or cooperate with foreign customers and suppliers. The General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) provides a narrow scope for transferring personal data to non-EU countries. According to art...

Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions in the European Union
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, June 2019

(2017/0355 (COD)) On 16 April 2019, the European Parliament adopted a new Directive aimed at ensuring transparent and reliable working conditions for employees in the area of crowdworking. On 13 June 2019, the Council of Ministers also adopted the Directive. In the following the main content of the new Directive...

Survivors' Benefits - Minimum Duration of Marriage
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, June 2019

Federal Labor Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht; BAG) dated February 19, 2019 – 3 AZR 150/18 A clause in a preworded pension commitment stipulating a minimum of ten years of marriage as per the date of death as a prerequisite for the disbursement of survivors’ benefits violates German general terms and conditions law and is thus void and invalid...

The New German Skilled Worker Immigration Act (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz; FEG)
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, June 2019

In order to make Germany more appealing to skilled international workers and meet the increasing demand for skilled workers by way of labor-based migration, the German Parliament (Bundestag) adopted the Skilled Worker Immigration Act (FEG) on June 7, 2019. The Act is expected to become effective in early 2020. The administrative obstacles for non-EU citizens have been rather immense when it comes to being employed in Germany...

Employee's Right of Information and Disclosure of their Recorded Personal Information
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, June 2019

State Labor Court (Landesarbeitsgericht; LAG) Baden-Württemberg dated December 20, 2018 - 17 Sa 11/18 Pursuant to Art. 15(1) GDPR, the employee may request information and a copy of the personal information which the employer has recorded of him/her. A general refusal by the employer to provide information or hand over the information due to justified third-party interests is not sufficient, but must be adequately explained by the employer...

Employers Must Also Draw Attention to Claims for Remaining Vacation Days from Previous Calendar Years
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, June 2019

German State Labor Court (Landesarbeitsgericht; LAG) of Cologne, decision dated April 9, 2019 – 4 Sa 242/18 In their decision dated April 9, 2019 (4 Sa 242/18), the Cologne LAG implemented the requirements of a high-profile decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) made in November 2018 according to which a directive-compliant interpretation of Sec...

Orientation Internship Of Up To Three Months Without Minimum Wage May Be Completed During Different Periods
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, June 2019

FACTS OF THE CASE The plaintiff and the defendant, who operates a horse-riding facility, agreed on a three-month internship for career orientation (professional horse farmer; Pferdewirt). The internship started on October 6, 2015. The plaintiff was involved in saddling and cleaning horses, putting them on a belt, feeding them, taking them to the pasture and back, and helping with stable cleaning. During the period from November 3 to 6, 2015, the plaintiff was ill and not fit to work...

Trade and business secrets law enacted
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, June 2019

It is here. The German Trade and Business Secrets Law (Geschäftsgeheimnisgesetz; GeschGehG) came into effect on April 26, 2019. Companies wishing to ensure protection of their business and trade secrets (such as customer, supplier and staff lists) in the future are required to take and document appropriate non-disclosure measures. This is effective immediately...

Unfounded Fixed Term ("Previous Employment")
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, June 2019

Federal Labor Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht; BAG) dated January 23, 2019 – 7 AZR 733/16 The unfounded limitation of the term of an employment contract, when an employee is employed again by the same employer, is only permissible when and if the application of the prohibition of unfounded fixed-term employment under Sec. 14(2) s. 2 Part-Time and Fixed-Term Employment Law (Teilzeit- und Befristungsgesetz; TzBfG) would be unreasonable for the parties...

European Court of Justice (ECJ): Member States Must Require Employers to Systematically Record Working Hours
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, June 2019

FACTS OF THE CASE Spanish working time law only requires that employers systematically measure their employees’ working hours in case of overtime...

No Right of Withdrawal After Entering into a Termination Agreement
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, June 2019

BAG, ruling dated February 7, 2019 - 6 AZR 75/18 A termination agreement under labor law cannot be withdrawn pursuant to consumer protection regulations (Sec. 312(1) in combination with Sec. 312g, Sec. 355 German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch; BGB)) only because it was concluded in the employee’s private home. In its ruling dated February 6, 2019 (Ref. No...

Joint Controllers - Supervisory authorities publish first sample agreement
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, June 2019

The topic of “joint controllers” according to Art. 26 GDPR continues to gain momentum. The State Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information in Baden-Württemberg (LfDI) has now, for the first time, published a sample of an agreement for joint controllers under Art. 26(1) s. 2 GDPR as well as a sample relating to the fulfillment of obligations to inform the data subjects pursuant to Art. 26(2) s. 2 GDPR...

Update regarding video surveillance - only documented purposes justify the means
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, June 2019

There are hardly any companies that do not use video surveillance systems (CCTV). Such systems record areas such as plant and work facilities or entrance areas. Oftentimes, the video images are not only displayed live on a monitor (“camera-to-monitor system”), but are also recorded automatically for a certain period of time...

Worker Participation of the Works Council in Employee Survey
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, April 2019

The recent decision of the FOPH (FOPH, decision of 11.12.2018 - 1 ABR 13/17) gives additional grounds for further clarifying the practical question of to what extent the conduct of an employee survey is subject to worker participation by the works council. The Respondent - a parent company of a postal and logistics company - has been carrying out an annual Group-wide employee survey since 2007 using a standardized electronic questionnaire...

Age Limit - Postponing the Termination Date
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, April 2019

Federal Labor Court, ruling of 19 December 2018 - 7 AZR 70/17 The provision of Sec. 41 p. 3 Social Code (SGB) VI allows employers and employees to postpone the termination of the employment relationship upon reaching the regular retirement age of the employee. According to a ruling of the German Federal Labor Court (BAG) of 19 December 2018 (Ref. 7 AZR 70/17), this regulation is compatible with higher-ranking law...

Leave Reduction During Parental Leave Period Not in Breach of European Law
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, April 2019

FOPH of March 19, 2019 - 9 AZR 362/18 The statutory leave entitlement according to Sec. 1, 3 Federal Leave Act (BUrlG) also exists for the period of parental leave, but may be reduced by the employer pursuant to Sec. 17 (1) (1) Federal Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act (BEEG). This requires a legal declaration completed upon receipt aimed at reduction. Sec. 17 (1) BEEG is in line with EU law...

Participation of the Representative Body for Severely Disabled Persons During the Dismissal Process
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, April 2019

(FOPH, Ruling of 12.13.2018, 2 AZR 378/18) In a very helpful decision for the practice, the FOPH has commented on the procedure for consulting with the representative body for severely disabled persons before dismissals. It is sufficient for the employer to consult the representative body for severely disabled persons before notice of dismissal in accordance with the basic principles applicable to the participation of the works council pursuant to Sec...

European Whistleblowing Directive will be Effective as of April 2019
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, April 2019

At European and national level, discussions have been going on for years on how best to protect the so-called whistleblowers from being victims of retaliation measures by those whose actions they have uncovered. Whistleblowers are persons who, as "insiders" (such as employees) disclose dubious practices of the institutions they serve. Here we think first and foremost of persons such as Edward Snowden, whose disclosures were directed against state measures...

Standardization of the Level of Administrative Fines under the GDPR?
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, April 2019

The administrative fines that have been imposed by the different European supervisory authorities since the GDPR took effect vary enormously. While the highest administrative fines imposed by the German authorities to date have been EUR 20,000 and EUR 80,000 and have therefore remained well below the possible maximum fine of EUR 20 million or 4 % of worldwide annual turnover, other countries’ supervisory authorities have already delivered higher fines...

Consent for the Use of Cookies
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, April 2019

Even before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, there were discussions as to whether the use of tracking cookies, which make it possible to analyze the usage and browsing behavior of a user on the Internet and use it for interest-based advertising, requires prior consent (opt-in) of the user or whether a dissent solution (opt-out) is sufficient. The German data protection authorities are of the opinion that users must give their consent...

Personal Data: Comprehensive Right to Information of the Employee - A Threat to the Anonymity of Whistleblowers?
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, March 2019

The Regional Labor Court (LAG) of Baden-Württemberg, in its ruling of December 20, 2018 (Ref. 17 Sat 11/18), granted an employee a comprehensive right to information against his employer with regard to all personal data collected about his person. The right to information was explicitly confirmed in relation to personal data resulting from internal investigations and data from potential whistleblowers...

Personal Data: Comprehensive Right to Information of the Employee - A Threat to the Anonymity of Whistleblowers?
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, March 2019

The Regional Labor Court (LAG) of Baden-Württemberg, in its ruling of December 20, 2018 (Ref. 17 Sat 11/18), granted an employee a comprehensive right to information against his employer with regard to all personal data collected about his person. The right to information was explicitly confirmed in relation to personal data resulting from internal investigations and data from potential whistleblowers...

German Bundestag Adopts New Law for the Protection of Trade Secrets
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, March 2019

Companies will need to take appropriate steps in the future to protect their secrets. The new law on the protection of trade secrets places greater demands on the sensitivity of secrets to this extent. Whistleblowers can also reveal trade secrets with impunity - one more reason to set up a whistleblower hotline. Reverse engineering will be a permissible way of acquiring a trade secret in the future...

Private Use of Company Email Accounts by Employees
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, March 2019

On 13 March 2019, the State Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information in Baden-Württemberg (LfDI BaWü) published the latest version of his guidebook on employee data protection. In this brochure, the LfDI BaWü offers an insight into his work and explains his opinion regarding the various points of view surrounding employee data protection...

Facebook - Bundeskartellamt [German Federal Cartel Office] Prohibits the Processing of User Data from Third Party Sources
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, February 2019

In its decision from February 7, 2019, the Bundeskartellamt prohibited Facebook from the further processing of user data which it has generated from so-called third party sources. In order to make use of these personal data in future, Facebook will need the consent of the data subject as defined by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It remains to be seen whether this will be granted by the majority of users. 1...

First Fines Issued by Supervisory Authorities for Infringements Against the GDPR
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, February 2019

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides for a significant increase of the maximum possible fine for legal infringements compared to previous data protection legislation. Fines of up to 20 million euros or 4 percent of the worldwide annual turnover, whichever is higher, can be imposed (Art. 83 para. 5 GDPR). Yet, the first few months after the introduction of the GDPR in May 2018 were uneventful in this regard. That is now changing, however...

"Right to be Forgotten" - Search Engine Operators Must Comply with Requests to Delete Links to Personal Data
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, January 2019

The use of the Internet without the use of search engines, which list links to Internet pages after keywords have been entered, is almost unthinkable. In the context of the search results, however, websites may appear that contain personal data and thus fall within the scope of the GDPR...

Rejection of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement: What do Companies Have to Consider Now?
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, January 2019

The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the European Union and the United Kingdom envisaged that during the United Kingdom's transitional period data protection legislation would have been treated in the same way as with the countries of the European Economic Area. This would have allowed a transfer of personal data from the European Union to the United Kingdom without additional measures to ensure adequate levels of data protection...

Joint Controllership in the Integration of Third-Party Website Plug-Ins - Concluding Opinion of the Advocate General to the ECJ on The "Facebook Like" Button
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, January 2019

The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) must currently clarify whether and how website operators can legally integrate the so-called "Like" button of Facebook on their website (Case C-40/17). A German online retailer had integrated the "Facebook Like" button into their online shop. Due to the functionality of the "Facebook Like" button, personal information was transmitted to Facebook Ireland each time the website was visited, including the IP address...

Data Protection in the Application Process
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, January 2019

Under its Article 88(1), the GDPR allows Member States to draw up their own rules for the area of employee data protection. Germany has taken advantage of this option with Section 26 of the Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG). The first sentence of Section 26(1) already applies while the decision to establish an employment relationship is made and hence it needs to be taken into account early in the application process...

Real Estate Transfer Tax 2019 – What is Changing for Corporations
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, December 2018

The necessity of the contemplated Real Estate Transfer Tax Act amendments has been subject of intense discussions. The finance ministers of the German states reached agreement on introducing new tax provisions and on extending the scope of existing rules in June and November 2018...

State Aids for Inland Ports – An Introduction
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, December 2018

Inland ports are of significant importance for handling of freight. Most inland ports are trimodal (road, railways and waterways) and have the necessary infrastructure to handle freight coming from all over the world. Recent State aid measures address the increasing importance of inland ports and allow subsidisation predominantly for constructing infrastructure...

 

 

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