Employment Rights

Law
Human dignity more important than freedom of speech, German Federal Constitutional Court rules
Human dignity more important than freedom of speech, German Federal Constitutional Court rules
Credit: Asmodea Oaktree / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

In a case about a lay-off because of a racist slur during a works council meeting, the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled, that an insult, which is not only offensive but "fundamentally degrading" is not covered by the freedom of speech, because it infringes the human dignity, which is the highest principle of the German constitution.

Law
Lawsuit against US meat processing plant over managers betting money on Covid-19 cases amongst employees
Lawsuit against US meat processing plant over managers betting money on Covid-19 cases amongst employees
Credit: Corey Coyle / via Wikimedia Commons

Tyson Foods faces a wrongful death lawsuit after ordering employees to continue working during the pandemic while supervisors privately wagered money on the number of workers who would contract and test positive for Covid-19.

Dean Banks, Tyson Foods' president and chief executive officer, has stated that they "are extremely upset about the accusations involving some of the leadership at our Waterloo plant. The lawsuit alleges that despite the uncontrolled spread of the virus at the plant, Tyson required its employees to work long hours in cramped conditions without providing the appropriate personal protective equipment and without ensuring workplace-safety measures were followed".

The accused supervisors have been suspended according to Banks.

Regional News • Asia • China
Shenzhen becomes first city in China to introduce mandatory paid leave time for workers
Shenzhen becomes first city in China to introduce mandatory paid leave time for workers
Credit: unsplash.com / Robert Bye

Shenzhen, the Chinese technology hub in the south of the country, will be the first city in China to introduce mandatory paid leave time so that employees "with a heavy mental and physical workload can avoid excessive burnout," following the announcement by Shenzhen's work committee.

Business • Consumer & Service
H&M fined €35.3 million in Germany for spying on employees
H&M fined €35.3 million in Germany for spying on employees
Credit: unsplash.com / Fernand De Canne

Hamburg’s data protection commissioner has stated that H&M in Nuremberg had collected private information about employees including family issues and religious beliefs. The data had been collected on a network drive and had been accessible for up to 50 managers. The incident got public when the data had been briefly visible for all people on the network.

H&M has been fined €35.3 million and the company stated that the practices uncovered in Nuremberg did not align with the guidelines of the company.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Court of Appeal ruling avoids Lyft and Uber California ridesharing suspension
Court of Appeal ruling avoids Lyft and Uber California ridesharing suspension
Credit: Elvert Barnes (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

A last-minute decision by the California First District Court of Appeal avoided the suspension of ridesharing operations by Lyft and Uber. Both companies were planning to suspend their California operations at Thursday 23:59 (Pacific Time) due to the requirement of reclassifying all Lyft drivers as employees.
Before the appeal was accepted, in a blog post, Lyft stated: "We don’t want to suspend operations. We are going to keep up the fight for a benefits model that works for all drivers and our riders."
"We are glad that the Court of Appeals recognised the important questions raised in this case, and that access to these critical services won’t be cut off while we continue to advocate for drivers’ ability to work with the freedom they want," Uber said in a statement.

Business • Entrepreneurship & Startups
N26 founder apologizes for blocking employee efforts to form a works council
N26 founder apologizes for blocking employee efforts to form a works council
Credit: Valentin Stalf via Twitter

The founder and CEO of the startup bank N26 Valentin Stalf has publicly apologized on LinkedIn for the events of the past days as the management team around him has tried to prevent employees from moving forward with the process of forming a works council.

He stated that "As a founder, it has been hard to see how the discussion has evolved in the last days. This doesn’t reflect how we usually work together as a team. But ultimately, myself and my leadership team at N26 feel responsible for the way this debate has escalated. And we would like to apologize for the last couple of days" and adds later that he would prefer an "alternative to a traditional Works Council".

Business • Jobs & Careers
CEO of Just Eat Takeaway announces intention to stop using gig economy workers
CEO of Just Eat Takeaway announces intention to stop using gig economy workers
Credit: unsplash.com / Clay Banks

In the past, the CEO of Just Eat Takeaway has relied on the gig economy work model, where workers have flexible work hours but fewer or no benefits compared to regular staff, for his Takeaway.com business that he founded 20 years ago.

He has now stated that "it's our intent to not have those in Europe", referring to gig workers and added that he does not want people that deliver food from restaurants to clients to face harder working conditions.

"We want to be certain they do have benefits, that we do pay taxes on those workers" as they are "a large multinational company with quite a lot of money and we want to insure our people".

Business • Entrepreneurship & Startups
Workers at startup bank N26 proceed with process of forming works council despite legal action from management
Workers at startup bank N26 proceed with process of forming works council despite legal action from management
Credit: Works Council @ N26 via Twitter

Despite the management obtaining to temporary injunctions to prevent two meetings on Thursday and Friday, a number of N26 employees have managed to legally gather and select and electoral board.

The management first had obtained a temporary injunction against the employee that planned on hosting the Thursday meeting. In order to circumvent this, the labor union Verdi stepped in as hosting party. For the second temporary injunction against Verdi to prevent the meeting on Friday, the labor union IG Metall stepped in as host.

The police showed up as an unknown person had called them on Friday "to check the safety measures of the meeting", according to the Twitter account of the works council. They added that the police "found no issue and have left the premises".

Business • Entrepreneurship & Startups
Founders of German N26 startup bank obtain temporary injunction to prevent election of works council
Founders of German N26 startup bank obtain temporary injunction to prevent election of works council
Credit: N26

The founders of the German startup bank N26 have previously stated that a works council would be "against almost all the values in which we at N26 believe" while a group of employees has stated that the trust in the management of the company is "at an all-time low".

This group of employees had intended to elect a works council this week but the management has obtained a temporary injunction from the Berlin labour court on the grounds of a missing hygiene concept during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The workers union Verdi has criticized the actions of the management while an N26 spokesperson has stated that "we would like to make it clear once again that neither the founders nor the management team of N26 are against employee representation and participation - in whatever form - or are taking action against them".

Technology • Internet & Web
Uber and Lyft ordered by California judge to classify drivers as employees
Uber and Lyft ordered by California judge to classify drivers as employees
Credit: unsplash.com / Dan Gold

A California judge ruled that Uber and Lyft must classify their drivers as employees in a stunning preliminary injunction issued Monday afternoon.

Uber said it planned to file an immediate emergency appeal to block the ruling from going into effect.