German Federal Labour Court dated on 26 February 2015, docket number 2 AZR 955/13

According to a decision of the German Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht) on 26 February 2015 an employer planning a mass dismissal is obliged to inform the Federal Labour Office (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) of that measure (docket number: 2 AZR 955/13). Furthermore, according to sec. 19 para. 3 sentence 2 Employment Protection Act (Kündigungsschutzgesetz) the employer must provide the Federal Labour Office with the written opinion of the works council concerning the planned measures, which has to be attached to the document.

If the parties agree upon a reconciliation of interests with a list of names of all employees to be dismissed, it is exceptionally not required that the Federal Labour Office is provided with the written opinion of the works council. The employer must ensure that the works council is informed about the measures at least two weeks before the official notification to the authority.

Dismissals of employees following an invalid notification to the Federal Labour Office are invalid.

However, according to the German Federal Labour Court a simple agreement of a reconciliation of interests for the future does not constitute proper consultation between an employer and the works council according to sec. 17 para. 3 sentence 2 Employment Protection Act if there are still uncertainties about the concrete number of dismissals.

The German Federal Labour Court strengthens the rights of the works council with regard to mass dismissals and points out – in accordance with its prior determinations – that it is difficult for the employer to fulfil the requirements of a proper notification of mass dismissals to the Federal Labour Office.