Corona measures: Labour law issues – and how the courts see it

Some of the Corona provisions and measures introduced by the government since the beginning of the crisis have led to interesting questions and, in some cases, to legal proceedings. In the meantime, some decisions from the first and second instance are available.

Read decisions on issues such as “Right of access to place of work”, “Unseizability of Corona special payment”, etc. .

Corona lawsuits and rulings – a selection

Can access to the place of work be made dependent on a negative Corona test?
Which is more important? The employee’s general personal right to employment or the employer’s duty of care towards its employees? According to the Offenbach Labour Court, access to the works premises can indeed be made dependent on a negative Corona test. The court ruled in favour of the rapid test and the employer’s authority to order appropriate testing.

Is a Corona special payment an unseizable hardship allowance?
According to the Labour Court of Braunschweig, a Corona special payment is an unseizable aggravation allowance. The reasoning: As a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, many employees are exposed to particular physical and psychological stresses and hazards at work.

Can an employee sue for payment of a Corona bonus in the labour court?
In this case, an employee sued his employer for payment of a Corona premium. Initially, the labour court referred this action to the social court. However, the Bremen Regional Court took a different view and opened up legal recourse to the labour courts. This decision – although not by the highest court – can at least serve as a guideline.

Is there a claim to compensation for low-level employees if the business has been closed by official order?
The Lower Saxony Regional Court has ruled that a marginally employed worker retains her entitlement to remuneration even if the business – in this case a retail outlet – was closed to customer traffic by official order due to the Covid 19 pandemic. In the court’s view, the employer’s so-called operational risk applies here. This decision could possibly be different if the existence of the business is at risk.

Update 8/31/2021: May employer order return from home office?
The Regional Labor Court of Munich has ruled that an employer, who had allowed his employee
to perform his work as a graphic designer from home, is in principle entitled to change his instruction if operational reasons later emerge that speak against the completion of work in the home office.

My recommendation on labour law issues?

In the event that you have any questions in this regard, but also in general about labour law in Corona times, I will be happy to assist you. If you need assistance, please contact me.
I will be happy to help you.

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Questions about labour law?

Christian Seidel

Specialist in labour law
Authorised signatory of ACCONSIS GmbH Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft

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