as an international law firm, we are constantly in contact with the tribunal judiciary system in Germany and worldwide. Law is our passion and Law is what we want to talk about. In this regard, we are glad to present you our new project: Tribunal Decision – BWLH Reviews.
Our team is reviewing each week a significant actual tribunal decision and offering you the possibility to get to know our world better, step by step. Most of the decisions will come from the databases of the German Federal Supreme Court of Germany, Higher Administrative Courts, District Courts, Local Courts and so much more.
This opening week will be all about the main topic that has been shaking and trembling this year 2020 all around the world: the corona virus pandemic. While all around the world people are fighting against the virus, the economy of entire regions is seeing the crisis coming. Restrictions and new regulation can however not stop the economy completely. From schools to offices, everything is getting digitalized and the world goes on…line, from home. Smart working, zoom meetings, home office are the keywords of the future. But not everybody likes to work from home. This was the case of an over 60-year-old Berlin woman, that highly prefers her office instead of staying home.
The applicant is employed as an official inspector at a Berlin district office. At the end of March 2020, her employer ordered that she should work in home office until April 2020. The decision was necessary for health care reasons, as the employee is exposed to an increased risk of COVID-19 disease due to her age. She should be available for the office by telephone, and if necessary, she would be given work orders for home processing. Against this order, the applicant claimed that there was no legal basis for imposing home office work. The internal regulations merely provided that home office could be ordered upon application by the respective employee; however, she had not made such an application.
The Decision of the Tribunal:
The 28th Chamber however dismissed the urgent application, as this is just an exceptional situation acceptable due to corona pandemic. The applicant had to accept the organizational measure taken, at least for a limited period of time. The office inspector remains in her function and is neither pushed out of the service nor forced to inactivity for an unlimited period of time. According to the court, in the exceptional situation caused by the corona pandemic, it is acceptable that the employment conditions (as office etc.) are temporarily limited to mere on-call duty and that individual tasks are to be executed in home office. An appeal against the decision can be lodged with the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg.
Order of the 28th Chamber of 14 April 2020 (VG 28 L 119/20)