Expats in Germany

Lawyers for Expats in Germany

The ZELLER & SEYFERT Law Firm specializes in the advising of Expatriates who are currently residing in Germany. We define the term Expatriate (or Expat for short) as a person who is temporarily or permanently residing in Germany but was born and brought up in another country (as you are aware the word comes from the Latin terms for “out of fatherland”). This is obviously quite a general definition and one which covers a wide section of those in the expat community, ranging from those who have only recently arrived in Germany to those who have been living here for many years.

A common issue in the Expat community, be they freshly arrived or having been here for some time, is the coming to terms with the differences in the legal systems between their mother country and the German legal system. This is especially true regarding the differences relating to German employment law, workplace rights and Labor Law, with said laws having a direct effect on the rights of any expat in full or part time employment. Knowing your rights and legal entitlements in the workplace is a complicated enough issue in an expat’s native country and language, so navigating the intricacies of the German labor legal system can be a hugely stressful and complex task. We at ZELLER & SEYFERT are here to help as your expat lawyer.

In which areas of German Law do we specialize?

We focus on Labor Law and Employment Law in Germany and provide expert courtroom representation before all competent German Labor Courts and Employment Courts. We represent our Clients proudly as expatriate lawyers in disputes and negotiations relating to many aspects of German Labor Law and Employment Law.

1. What legal issues are we typically involved with?

We frequently deal with the following types of Labor and Employment Law Disputes:

  • In ascertaining if our Client has jurisdiction before the Labor Courts or Employment Courts in Germany.

  • To ascertain if the far-reaching German Employee Protection Rights, e.g. the Dismissal Protection Act, apply in favor of our Client.

  • To ascertain if a Top-Level Executive, Managing Director, C Level Officer (CEO, COO, CFO, CTO) or Board Member can make a claim under German Labor Law or German Employment Law.

  • If our Client can be terminated under German Law or if he or she can claim a severance payment.

  • If so, how much severance pay or other benefits (severance package) our Client may claim.

  • To assist in deciding if our Client should sign a cancellation or termination agreement, or should they rather file a complaint before the competent Labor Court or Employment Court.

  • Whether our Client should seek a settlement agreement or enforce his or her rights through a court judgment.

  • If an Employment Contract is valid under German Law and if all necessary legal requirements have been met.

  • If our Client may claim bonus payments, other flexible payments or further benefits under the German Employment Contract.

  • If our Client may be assigned another job instead of the one he or she has been hired for.

  • Whether a post-contractual non-compete agreement is permissible and whether the employer is obliged to pay 50% of our Client’s last income

  • If our Client may be held liable (management liability) by the employer just for performing on the job

  • If a temporary agency license or labor lease license is needed under German Employment law or Labor Law

  • If the benefits our Client receives under the company pension scheme are sufficient or if an adjustment may be claimed

  • And a great deal more…

2. Coronavirus

The Coronavirus outbreak has had a devastating effect on pretty much all aspects of German society, with the employment sector being hit especially hard. These troubled times have left many with a great uncertainty over their employment prospects and this has hit especially hard within the expat community. Knowing your rights and options at this time is therefore highly important but coming to terms with and understanding the intricacies of German Employment Law is a difficult proposition. With this is mind, we have penned articles relating to the Coronavirus crisis, to explain some of the options available to the expat community:

Should you have questions relating to these articles, or any other questions relating to the impact of Coronavirus on your employment, please do not hesitate to contact us by online submission or by the contact details at the bottom of this article.

3. Costings and deadlines regarding German Labor Law and Employment Law?

Clarity regarding fees is a highly important topic within our law firm. Accordingly, we immediately discuss with our clients the costs of any possible legal action, or of filing a lawsuit or complaint (legal fees, attorney fees, court fees etc.) before the relevant German Labor Court or Employment Court. We also discuss the relevant deadlines, such as the crucial 3 weeks deadline after delivery of the termination notice.

4. Where do our Clients come from?

Although an Expat working in Germany may come from a variety of countries, he or she usually runs into similar legal problems once living and working in “Deutschland”. As a result, in our role as specialist expat lawyers, we have successfully represented Clients from around the world, from countries such as the United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK), Australia, South Africa (RSA), New Zealand, Canada, Russia, China, Turkey, Taiwan, India, Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, Spain, South Korea, Singapore, Poland, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, France, Israel, Mexico, and Hungary.

Brexit

One of the major topics currently for British expats in Germany is the possible impact of Brexit on their employment. The question of what happens in relation to the employment of British expats in Germany after Brexit is one which has been asked to our firm many times since the vote in 2016 and, more recently, since the UK actually left the European Union at the end of January 2020. Currently, we remain in the transition phase, which will remain in place until the 31st December 2020, so your employment rights will remain unaffected until this point. What happens after this date is still very much up in the air, with discussions ongoing between the UK government and EU representatives. Quite understandably, this uncertainty has been a cause of huge stress for the British expat community and it is therefore imperative to know your rights in this regard. The details of the exit plan may still not be 100% clear but ZELLER & SEYFERT are there to assist you as expatriate lawyers in knowing everything you need to know in relation to your German Employment Law rights. Contact us on the details below.

5. What expertise is covered by our professional network?

We have a strong and international professional network and we are in constant contact with law firms from the countries listed above. As noted previously, we have successfully handled several cases for clients from a multitude of countries and we therefore see ourselves as experts in the legal differences between these countries and Germany, especially regarding the Labor Law or Employment Law. Having such a strong international network is a massive advantage as we can liaise with our partnered advisors for assistance in their domestic countrywhilst concentrating on enforcing our client’s rights under German Law.

Furthermore, we have worked with a great many German Immigration Lawyers, Business Visa Lawyers and German Tax Lawyers and Advisors. Resultingly, we can help our clients to identify such an advisor for assistance regarding German visa or tax issueswherever you may be located in Germany. Additionally, we frequently work together with other service providers expats in Germanyusually require, such as Relocation Agencies, Recruiters, Translation Agencies and more. Our wide professional network allows us to assist clients on a wide range of issues which are directly applicable to expats.

6. What can we offer to make it easy for potential clients to get in touch?

We offer free webinars on German Employment Law for Expats which last around 15 minutes. Your questions are welcome.

We are currently planning the next free webinar “Expats in Frankfurt – German Employment Law in 15 minutes”and “Expats in Berlinand will shortly be updating this page and our blog with the relevant details. Stay tuned for more information.

If you are interested in taking part, feel free to contact Dr. Christian Zeller  or send us an email at mail@zellerseyfert.com. We will then provide you with a direct link prior to the meeting. No complicated registration process is required.

In addition to these webinars, we offer a free initial advice for up to 10 minutes regarding your case. Just call us and let us know about your issue. We will be able to discuss with you your options under German Employment Law, the possible next steps and the costs involved for proceeding in your matter.

We are passionate and experienced Labor & Employment Litigators and we would welcome the opportunity to fight your corner. Being an expat in Germany can be tricky and we at ZELLER & SEYFERT would like to do whatever we can to help you in your journey. We are situated in Frankfurt and in Berlin but have successfully represented expats based all over Germany, including expats in Berlin, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart and in many other German cities and towns. Whenever you need good German Employment Law advice: Just call +49 (0) 69-58 80 972-40, email to mail@zellerseyfert.com or use our contact form.

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