Fixed-term employment contract Germany – Employment issues and labour disputes involving Expats

von Matthias Steinchen

Arbeitsrecht, Internationales Privatrecht

Recently many clients have asked us for legal advice regarding issues with their employer and fixed-term contracts. According to our experience, fairly often these disputes are accompanied by the employers’ misconception that Expats or even EU-citizens won’t get a lawyer involved as they have accepted the “hire and fire” culture as a reality being that it exists in many of their home countries.

The truth is this exploitive culture has been set up by the employers themselves. With the mostly positive rise of the Berlin startup-scene and increased migration to Germany comes along the downside of a highly competitive job market. Accordingly, employees are more likely to conform to unusual or even illegal employment structures or bear with their employer’s failures or abuses. To compound this issue the employers are not obliged to issue or translate working contracts or later annexes into other languages [cf. BAG, verdict from 19 March 2014 – 5 AZR 252/12 –]. The Expat bears the risk of not knowing which exact stipulations they have agreed upon. Therefore we always advise our clients to at least ask for translations of all official documents or even better consult a lawyer before signing any binding agreement.

Some of our clients were nervous asking for legal advice since they had been intimidated about the process, their status as a foreigner or directly from their employer. Had they known the power of their inherent rights, they would have sought council much sooner.

As a matter of fact, Non-German are protected by the same fair rights and need to be treated on an equal basis as a German employee.

With this series of articles, we want to give you a short introduction into the basic principles of German labour law regarding the – in our experience – most common tactics employers use in hopes to provide you with the resources to handle them ...

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