Dr. André Zimmermann, a Certified Specialist for Employment Law (Fachanwalt für Arbeitsrecht) and partner at Orrick's Düsseldorf office, heads Orrick’s employment law practice in Germany. André has been advising on complex employment law issues for more than 15 years, with a focus on the employment law aspects of M&A transactions, restructurings and headcount reductions, and a special sector focus on technology companies.
André advises companies of all stages, pre-IPO startups, scaleups, unicorns and international corporations on a wide range of matters, having handled everything from day-to-day practical advice tailored to his clients’ needs, to complex multi-jurisdictional transactions from strategic planning through post-merger integration. Having long-standing experience in negotiating with works councils and unions in restructuring measures of all kind, a special focus of André's practice is on restructurings and headcount reductions.
He has advised on the employment law aspects in over 300 M&A transactions and financing rounds across various industries. Transactional advice includes employment law advice in complex, international technology transactions, M&A projects as well as private equity and venture capital investments, from due diligence to post-closing integration.
André has thorough knowledge of and a genuine passion for the tech industry. Over the last years, André has become the go-to-advisor of several Bay Area tech-companies, leaders in their market and high-growth tech companies. Most recently, he has advised leading global technology companies such as GoPro, Pinterest, GitHub, Nvidia, Sabre, Snap and Splunk on various employment matters.
André has received several awards for his work, inter alia:
- Germany's leading lawyer ranking JUVE recognizes André as "frequently recommended" employment law expert since 2017;
- Best Lawyers and Handelsblatt have listed André as one of Germany's best lawyers in employment law since 2020;
- Germany's leading business weekly WirtschaftsWoche ranked André as one of the top employment lawyers in Germany in 2019;
- IEL Elite, an in-house guide to the world’s leading employment and labour teams, recognized André as a "Key Lawyer" in 2022.
Clients recommend André to JUVE as “straight shooter" and "always refreshingly honest". Our clients praise his "creative and efficient style of working" and "a very practical and efficient style of providing advice", referring to him as "extremely responsive and always accessible" and as "an excellent advocate in court hearings". Clients appreciate André's "clear, sound and pragmatic real-world advice" and his "in-depth knowledge of the tech employment world".
On September 6, 2017, Orrick announced the launch of its innovative online automated GDPR Readiness Assessment Tool. The tool helps organizations assess their state of readiness with the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that comes into effect on 25 May 2018. The tool segments the GDPR into 14 workable themes and takes users through a series of questions relating to each theme. READ MORE
According to a recent decision of the German Federal Labor Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – BAG), the use of a keylogger software, which records all keyboard entries on a workplace computer for covert monitoring and control of the employee, is prohibited if there is no suspicion of a criminal offense or severe breach of duty.
Although severely exceeding the limits of permissible private use of the workplace computer and Internet may in principle constitute such a grave infringement of the obligations under the employment relationship that a dismissal with immediate effect may be justified, it must be kept in mind that the employer bears the burden of proof for the employee’s misconduct in case of a claim for unfair dismissal.
If evidence is achieved in breach of the Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz – BDSG), this generally indicates that its utilization in legal proceedings may infringe the employee’s right on informational self-determination and, therefore, is not admissible evidence. READ MORE
Global companies face stricter rules on employee data privacy, in particular when using social media and internal monitoring tools. It also now becomes clearer that many EU Member States will use the opening clause of Art. 88 General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) to re-implement their “old” data privacy laws.
- Use of Social Media And Employee Analysis Tools Under GDPR
Recently, the Article 29 Working Party (“WP29”), the expert group of European data protection authorities, published its opinion on the upcoming changes relating to data privacy at the work place. It explains what employers should do for ensuring compliance with the GDPR and provides guidelines for the use of information found on social media platforms – such as Facebook or LinkedIn and for electronic monitoring of employees. READ MORE
As we reported last summer, Germany’s Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) set up a centralized platform for receiving whistleblower complaints of alleged violations of supervisory provisions within the financial sector.
Beginning this year, the BaFin implemented a new electronic system, allowing whistleblowers to submit their reports. The system guarantees the informants absolute anonymity, while on the other hand enabling the BaFin to make contact regarding possible inquiries. Thereby, although taking place on anonymous basis, the newly installed communication channel is expected to give BaFin the opportunity to verify the truth value of the submitted information by posing further questions, e.g. regarding the background of the complaint. READ MORE
The German Federal Labor Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – BAG) has ruled that when an employer provides Facebook users access to publish posts on the company’s Facebook page that relate to the behavior or performance of individual employees, that process is subject to negotiation and co-determination of the works council.
The ruling is of particular significance especially for companies with an existing works council in Germany that operate a Facebook page or a page on a similar social network with a commenting function for users.
Just in time for the 10th anniversary of the German General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz – AGG) the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has clarified that European anti-discrimination law does not protect mock applicants, i.e. applicants who are not interested in being hired, but solely apply in order to bring claims on the grounds of discrimination. The judgment will make it easier for companies in Europe to reject such discrimination claims in the future.
Last week, Germany’s Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) unveiled a centralized platform for receiving whistleblower complaints, including anonymous complaints, of alleged violations of supervisory provisions within the financial sector. The move appears to represent a shift in German ideology toward a more favorable view of anonymous reporting, which for many years was discouraged in Germany and more broadly in the EU due to the risk of “organized systems of denouncement.” Under the new program, whistleblowers may submit reports in writing (on paper or electronically), by phone (with or without recording the conversation), or verbally. BaFin’s press release announcing the program states that it will make the anonymity of whistleblowers a “top priority,” and that it will not pass on the identity of whistleblowers to third parties. The program is “aimed at person with a special knowledge of a company’s internal affairs – for example because they are employed there or have some other contractual relationship or relationship of trust with the company.”
BaFin was required to implement this new platform due to an amendment to the German Act on Financial Services Supervision. Notably, the Act only applies to the financial services sector, not including external accountants, tax consultants and attorneys. It provides that employees working in the financial services sector may not be held liable for reporting potential or actual breaches of law under either employment law or criminal law, unless the report was false or grossly negligent.
On June 1, 2016, the draft law regarding the reform of the German Act on the Supply of Temporary Employees (Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz – AÜG) has been adopted by the Federal Cabinet. The German Bundestag will address the draft law after the summer break. However, material changes to the draft are not expected to be made during the parliamentary process. If the time schedule will be observed, the reform will come into force as planned on January 1, 2017.
The new law will bring material changes for both, employment agencies and their customers, the host businesses.
Recently, the German Federal Cabinet approved the draft law submitted by the Federal Family Ministry providing for new regulations on maternity protection. Multinational companies with employees in Germany should be aware of the new law which shall be adopted this year and become effective as from January 1, 2017.
Draft legislation regarding the reform of the German Act on the Supply of Temporary Employees (Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz – AÜG) has been introduced by Germany’s Federal Minister of Labor. Although further amendments to this draft are likely and a final version will not come into force before January 1, 2017, it is important to know what this means for temporary employment agencies and their customers, the host businesses.