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Germany – Court reinforces rights of temporary workers

12 December 2012

A court in Germany has reinforced labour rights of temporary employees, involving the case of a pregnant fixed-term worker. The court ruled that the woman had no legal obligation to tell her employer of her pregnancy before her employment contract was completed.

The Higher Labour Court in Cologne reviewed the case of a pregnant temporary worker who was employed on a fixed-term contract and covering for an employee on maternity leave. But when the employer, a legal firm, found out about the pregnancy, it fired the woman in January 2012 on grounds of wilful misrepresentation.

The court nullified the claim.

It ruled that the fixed-term employee only had to inform her employee after signing her contract. The decision was based on anti-discrimination law.

“A pregnant woman does not have to reveal an existing pregnancy voluntarily or when asked [before a contract has been finalised]” the court decided.  It said that a fixed-term contract was no exception to this rule. 

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