Works Council Elections in Germany – Avoid mistakes and be aware of special termination protections! Final Part III
February 16, 2018
Authored by: Michael Magotsch
March 2018 is getting closer and works council (re)elections will again be on the agenda in Germany. We started this three-part blog last November with an overview to this topic and the second part highlighting the election proceedings. See link to November 7, 2017 blog and link to January 11, 2018 blog. In this final Part III, we briefly address the potential risks of reruns of elections due to mistakes and provide you with an overview of the special termination protection resulting from works council elections.
Avoid mistakes – elections can be challenged or even be null and void!
German employers are well advised to closely monitor the election proceedings. In the event of substantial breaches of the election process, the elections can be null and void, i.e., if such serious mistakes occurred that no democratic process was granted, or in less obvious breaches, elections can be challenged in court within two weeks of the announcement of the election results.
Who can file the challenge – and what are the risks?
The employer, three employees, or a union having members at the operational site are entitled to file a respective application with the competent local labor courts. If the court holds that the election process was breached, then the works council elections must be repeated.
Court proceedings challenging the elections are time consuming and costly. Above all, they create uncertainty at the operational site. Questions may arise, for example, whether meanwhile concluded shop agreements are valid and binding.