International Employment Law Developments

Works Council Elections 2018 in Germany – Are You Ready?

In Germany, regular works council elections are held every four years. The next election period is quickly approaching, starting on March 1, 2018.

Companies with business in Germany should prepare for the election process and employee initiatives to elect a works council. Our bilingual guide, based on years of experience, provides practical tips and legal considerations, navigates you through the election process and helps you avoid pitfalls that can be costly.

To access the full guide, please click here. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to André Zimmermann, Head of our German Employment Law Practice, or Mike Delikat, Chair of our Global Employment Law Practice.

Will France Become More Employer Friendly with Labor Law Reform?

In June 2017, the French government unveiled its plan to renew French social model, such program includes notably reforming employment law, French pension and unemployment insurance systems.

As a first step of this comprehensive reform strategy, five ordinances reforming French labor laws were adopted on 22 September 2017 and issued on 23 September 2017 (the Reform).

Unless specifically provided otherwise, the measures introduced by the Reform will enter into force on the day after the publication of the required implementation decrees (expected as from end of October 2017 onwards), and at the latest on 1 January 2018. By exception, certain measures are applicable since publication of the ordinances (e.g. regarding dismissals, temporary work and teleworking). In addition, transitional arrangements may allow existing employee representation to remain in place for the duration of the current mandate but until no later than 31 December 2019. READ MORE

Looking the Other Way: European Court of Human Rights Grand Chamber Determines Employer Monitoring of Electronic Communications May Violate Employees’ Privacy

In a case highlighting the European Continent’s approach to worker privacy, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled that employers may violate employees’ rights when monitoring their electronic correspondence in the workplace.  In Barbulescu v. Romania, the Grand Chamber reversed a prior decision from a smaller panel of the European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR”) which had determined companies have far-reaching authority to monitor employees’ electronic communications—a similar standard to that which exists in the United States. READ MORE

Orrick Establishes Automated GDPR Readiness Assessment Tool


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

Germany: Employee Monitoring by Keylogger Permitted Only in Exceptional Cases

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.

Legal Background

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

Be Prepared Update on EU Employment Data Privacy Laws

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.

  1. 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

Agency and Contractor Compliance in Germany–Are You Ready?

On April 1 2017, the reform of the German Act on Temporary Agency Work (Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz) came into force bringing major changes for agencies and their clients. Agencies and their customers have to revisit work processes and agreements. The same is true for the use of external staff based on service or work contracts (e.g., facility management, IT services) The time to act is now, since not all changes are subject to transition periods. In fact, material changes already came into force on April 1,2017, the violation of which may result in severe sanctions up to criminal penalties.


Germany’s Financial Regulator Implements New Electronic System Guaranteeing Whistleblowers Absolute Anonymity and Non-traceability

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

New Restrictions for Temporary Agency Work in Germany in 2017

On October 21, 2016, the German Parliament adopted the draft law regarding the reform of the German Act on Temporary Agency Work (Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz – AÜG). The reform will come into force as planned on April 1, 2017 and will bring material changes for both, agencies and their customers, the host businesses.