Employee boss who is right

Legal tip: What is the boss not allowed to forbid?

"What the boss says is the law."

A sentence that many employees have heard before. Some employers claim a clearly superior status for themselves and expect their employees to meet all requirements “without ifs and buts”. Of course, the employer has an exposed position, yes what the employer can actually demand and what not, explains this post.

Principle of freedom of contract

The applies in Germany Principle of freedom of contract. Therefore the employer is generally entitled to the Rights and duties of the employee in the corresponding employment contract to be determined. Of course, here too the employer is subject to certain limits. In principle, however, he can regulate things there such as:

  • clothing
  • Sideline
  • workplace
  • Time limit
  • overtime
  • Job Description
  • Probationary period

If the employee signs one employment contract, he can no longer plead afterwards that he does not want what was agreed in it. Something else applies, of course, if the content of the employment contract goes through legal regulations and case law leaves the specified framework.

Employer's right of direction

It should also be noted that Right of direction of the employer. This enables him to specify the work that is usually only generally described in the employment contract. Therefore he is entitled working hours, workplace and Work content to be determined at its reasonable discretion. He can therefore assign certain tasks to an employee or withdraw them from him. However, this right of direction can only be exercised within the statutory provisions.

However, this does not prevent many employers from working outside these limits and asking their employees to do things that they should not be allowed to do. On the part of the employees, the problem arises that many employees do not exactly know the limits just mentioned. Next it often comes to Conflicts of Interestwhen employees know the limits, but fear consequences or disadvantages under labor lawif they fail to meet the employer's requirements.

So what can the employer do?

So basically regulate employment contract, Right of instruction and the legal regulations the rights and obligations of the employment relationship. The following overview is intended to illustrate, by way of example, when an employer exceeds the legal limits and demands something illegal from his employee.

The instruction to lie

The employer must not ask his employees to lie for him - for example to a customer or another employee.

In practice, almost every employee will have lied for his boss at some point, but he is under no obligation to do so. Ultimately, however, it is up to the employee's own conscience whether or not to comply with this order.

Postpone or cancel vacation

In principle, the employer is not entitled to cancel or postpone leave that has been approved (so-called recreational leave).

Not even if the company is in a crisis. A one-sided Canceling the vacation by the employer without Consent of the employee is only permitted in absolute and narrowly defined exceptional cases. It is conceivable, for example, that the Existence of the company depends on the skills of a particular employee.

In practice, however, these exceptional cases are almost never relevant. Should there be a dispute in this area, open communication between both parties is usually the best solution.

So it can make perfect sense sometimes, not on his own Vacation law to persevere and help the company. On the other hand, one should avoid the risk of being taken advantage of and being pushed forward Reasons for a vacation postponement to accept.

Disregard of the Working Hours Act

An employer may also provide an employee with the Working Hours Act do not prohibit prescribed break times. If you work more than six hours, this is 30 minutes; if you work more than nine hours, it is 45 minutes. An employer who demands the opposite should keep in mind that a lack of breaks significantly reduces the work performance of an employee and these are less productive.

Appear in case of illness

In some cases, employers also require their employees to Case of illness appear at the company or work from home.

However, an employee who is on sick leave and duly reported sick cannot be obliged to work - no matter how urgently their work or expertise is needed in the company.

Such a requirement is not only forbidden, but also extremely myopic. Because an employee who has to work despite being ill, cannot regenerate and will only be missed by the employer for longer.

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Jan Ottmann is a lawyer and partner at the Berlin law firm Ottmann & Khazanov. The firm is a law firm specializing in labor law, corporate law and real estate law in the center of Berlin. Attorney Jan Ottmann mainly advises on individual labor law on issues such as warnings, termination of employment and termination agreements.