23. Dec 15

LAG Rheinland-Pfalz: Employer can designate place where work is to be performed

Owing to its authority to give directions, an employer is allowed to designate the place where work is to be performed if no other arrangements have been made in the employment contract. That was the decision of the LAG Rheinland-Pfalz (Regional Labour Court of Rhineland-Palatinate).

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London - www.grprainer.com/en conclude: An employer has the authority to give directions. The Landesarbeitsgericht Rheinland-Pfalz held that this also encompasses the right to determine the place where the work is to be performed, provided that there are no contrary provisions in the employment contract, collective wage agreement or statutory regulations (4 Sa 404/14). According to the ruling, the employee may be obligated to perform his work at the company’s principal office. The employer has to have a legitimate interest in this, and this interest must also outweigh the employee’s interest in working from home.

The case in question concerned an engineer who had worked for a company for several years and had an agreement that allowed him to work predominantly from home. Following a restructuring of the business, a new employment contract was concluded. The company then required the engineer to work at its principal office going forward. The engineer brought a legal action against this, but this was dismissed by the Arbeitsgericht Koblenz (Labour Court of Koblenz).

While the LAG Rheinland-Pfalz did overturn the decision on appeal, it also concluded that an employer could as a matter of principle designate its employees’ place of work if there are no other arrangements in the employment contract. The Court went on to state, however, that the authority to give directions must be exercised with equitable discretion, i.e. it is necessary to weigh the interests of the employer against those of the employee. In the instant case, the LAG was not able to identify a legitimate interest on the part of the employer. On the other hand, working at the company’s principal office, which was located relatively far away, would have had significant implications for the engineer, such as having to move house, acquire a second home or take a long commute every day. The Landesarbeitsgericht therefore granted the legal action.

Although the decision may take a different form in a given case, there is no doubt regarding the employer’s fundamental authority to give directions. Nevertheless, it is advisable to make appropriate contractual arrangements and draft an employment contract as precisely as possible. Lawyers who are versed in the field of employment law can advise on the preparation of employment contracts as well as other issues pertaining to employment law.

For more informations: http://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/employment-law/employment-contract.html

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