New developments in employment law – working time schemes, compensation plans, operational alliances, data protection, discrimination, mobbing
A series of new developments and structures becomes apparent in employment law.
Classical topics like working time schemes and compensation plans must be continually enhanced as the requirements are ever changing (e.g. transition to flexibility, globalization).
Nowadays, legal disputes do not only deal with domains like protection against dismissal and works council constitution law, but also with recent developments like discrimination and mobbing, while the topic of data protection continues to be an explosive subject with regard to the new media. The request for operational alliances for work stimulates the legal discussion.
Personal data of employees are protected against misuse. In particular the Federal Data Protection Act provides for rules for the collection, storage, processing and use of personal data by public and non-public agencies. Questions on the use of e-mail and Internet for private purposes by employees arise for many companies: Is it preferable to forbid the private use in general? Can the private use, which was once permitted, be restricted or forbidden at a later date? Is the employer entitled to monitoring? How should be proceeded upon termination of employment?
Discrimination at work
Judgments of the European Court of Justice on part-time work have particularly drawn attention to the topic of discrimination. Provisions, which discriminate against part-time employees, were considered to be inadmissible discrimination against women (who make up the major part of part-time employees). Due to a European Directive – which has to be transferred to national law – prohibiting discrimination based on religion and philosophy of life, age and sexual orientation, we will see more and more questions regarding inadmissible discrimination in the future.
The number of legal disputes on mobbing is increasing as well. If employees feel more and more burdened in everyday work, they develop defense mechanisms, which can manifest themselves in mobbing – e.g. by blaming others, personal offences, intrigues etc. The employer is obligated to protect the personal right and the health of his/her employees. Therefore, he/she must put a stop on mobbing and take action against mobbing employees.