The Higher Labour Court Düsseldorf (Landesarbeitsgericht, LAG) ruled on 14 October 2015 (docket number: 1 Sa 733/15) that a notification on a transfer of business (Betriebsübergang) is deficient and therefore does not trigger the objection period when it gives the impression of a long-term employment opportunity with the purchaser, if in fact this option is not guaranteed.
In the case of a transfer of business, the employment relationships of the affected employees are transferred by statute from the previous employer to the purchaser. Within a month upon receiving sufficient information of such a transfer, the employees can object to the transfer of their employment relationships. However, if the information provided was deficient this period does not start to run.
The plaintiff worked at a catering company. The defendant notified the plaintiff that the employment relationship had been transferred to the new catering operator and that the plaintiff has the right to object to this transfer within a month. The plaintiff did only object six months later and therefore delayed, when the purchaser terminated the transferred employment relationship. The defendant argued that the objection period had already expired at this time.
The Higher Labor Court ruled that the objection was effective and thus the employment relationship with the plaintiff continued to exist. According to the Higher Labour Court, the objection period had not started running yet since the defendant’s notification was deficient. The notification letter did not mention that the catering contract was limited until the end of the year. The notification only stated that the purchaser plans to continue the catering operation until further notice. The Higher Labour Court confirmed the plaintiff’s view that due to the incorrect impression of a long-term employment opportunity the objection period did not start to run. However, the plaintiff’s joy was short-lived since the defendant terminated the continued employment relationship for operational reasons at the earliest possible date.