Federal Labor Court

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GermanyGermany Federal Labor Court
- BAG -p1
Federal eagle of the German federal organs
State level Federation
position Federal Supreme Court
Exist since April 1954
head office Erfurt (since 1999)
management Ingrid Schmidt , President of the Federal Labor Court
Website www.bundesarbeitsgericht.de
Exterior view 2011
Large boardroom
Japanese garden above the foyer to the meeting rooms at the level of the surrounding library

The Federal Labor Court (BAG) is the final court of German labor jurisdiction and thus one of the five highest courts of justice in the Federal Republic of Germany.

As an authority , the Federal Labor Court is subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and is subject to its official supervision . However , it is independent in its work as a court .

In the other states of the German-speaking area there is no independent supreme labor court; the final decisions in labor matters are part of the jurisdiction of the highest civil court. In this is Liechtenstein Princely Supreme Court in Luxembourg Supreme Court , in Austria 's Supreme Court and in the Switzerland Federal Court .

History and seat

It was only after the Second World War that labor jurisdiction was completely separated from ordinary jurisdiction . The Basic Law , which came into force in 1949  , provided for labor jurisdiction as an independent branch of the legal system with its own supreme court in Article 96 (1), which in principle corresponds to today's Article 95 (1). Implemented this constitutional requirement was, which came into force on October 1, 1953 Labor Court Act , which was established by the Federal Labor Court. It began its judicial activity in April 1954 in Kassel .

In the course of German unification, the Independent Federalism Commission decided in May 1992 to relocate the Federal Labor Court to Thuringia . In 1993 the state capital Erfurt was determined as the future seat of the court. Since the move from Kassel to Erfurt in 1999, the court has its seat on the site of the former horn factory of the Petersberg Citadel .


The task of the Federal Labor Court is to maintain the uniformity of case law in the field of labor law as well as the further training of the law in the areas in which the legislature has unconsciously not created any final regulations or deliberately left the detailed formulation of the law to the courts (e.g. in Industrial action law ).

The Federal Labor Court decides on appeals against judgments of the regional labor courts . In principle, the appeal must be approved by the regional labor court ( Section 72 (1) ArbGG ). According to Section 72 (2) ArbGG, possible reasons for admission are a relevant legal question of fundamental importance, a deviation from a decision by another panel of equal or higher ranking, an absolute reason for a review or a decision-relevant violation of the obligation to be heard. If the regional labor court does not allow the appeal, there is the possibility of a non-admission complaint ( § 72a ArbGG), on which the federal labor court decides. If the non-admission complaint is accepted, the revision is permitted. Legal complaints can be lodged with the Federal Labor Court against decisions of the regional labor courts , which must be approved under the same conditions as an appeal.

In exceptional cases, if the parties agree, a decision by a labor court can also be appealed directly to the Federal Labor Court (so-called jump revision , Section 76 ArbGG), for example in the case of legal disputes about collective agreements , industrial action or questions of freedom of association.

Like all appeal courts, the Federal Labor Court does not usually make any factual findings, but only reviews the contested decisions with regard to whether they contain legal errors. If a revision is found to be unfounded, it is rejected and the judgment under appeal becomes final . If, on the other hand, the appeal is well-founded, the Federal Labor Court can amend the judgment if all the factual findings necessary for the decision can be found in the reasoning for the judgment. If facts relevant to the decision are missing, the legal dispute will be referred back to the regional labor court for a new hearing.

Employees and way of working

The Federal Labor Court makes fundamental decisions on lockouts in disputes between trade unions and employers (Kassel 1980).

The court is divided into ten senates, each with three or four professional judges, a total of 38 judges (as of November 2018). The proportion of women among the judges is currently (as of November 2018) with 17 out of 38 people, almost 45 percent. Furthermore, the court has 118 non-judicial employees and an average of eleven scientific employees are employed (as of 2018) who support the judges in their work.

The senates decide with three professional judges - a chairman and two assessors - as well as one honorary judge each from the circles of employers and employees. As a rule, the parties must be represented by a lawyer before the Federal Labor Court. Any lawyer admitted to a German court is entitled to represent the company. If an oral hearing (normal case) takes place or a decision is made in a written procedure (with the consent of the parties), then in the case of revision proceedings a decision is made by judgment , whereas in appeal proceedings decisions are made after consultation (normal case, similar to written proceedings; no consent of those involved) or after an oral hearing by resolution .

Business distribution

The responsibility of the respective Senate is based on the legal issues to be decided and results from the schedule of responsibilities , which (as of September 2020) looks as follows:

1. Senate: Material works constitution , staff representation and speaker committee law, freedom of association, collective bargaining capacity and responsibility, industrial action law

Chair: President of the Federal Labor Court Ingrid Schmidt
1st assessor: Kristina Schmidt
2nd assessor: Martina Ahrendt

2nd Senate: Termination of employment relationships through dismissals as well as subsequent severance payment and continued employment claims , replacement of the consent to the dismissal

Chairman: Ulrich Koch
1st assessor: Stephanie Rachor
2nd assessor: Jan-Malte Niemann
3rd assessor: Guido Schlünder

3rd Senate: Company pension scheme including pension losses

Chairman: Bertram Zwanziger
1st assessor: Günter Spinner
2nd assessor: Claudia Wemheuer
2nd assessor: Sebastian Roloff
3rd assessor: Eva Günther-Gräff

4. Senate: collective bargaining law and application of a collective agreement in its entirety to an employment relationship, application of a collective agreement in operation, input , RAISE, conversion and return groupings

Chairman: Jürgen Treber
1st assessor: Waldemar Reinfelder
2nd assessor: Ursula Rinck
3rd assessor: Saskia Klug

5th Senate: Wage claims including remuneration in kind and working time accounts, payment for delayed acceptance, minimum wages, continued payment of wages in the event of illness and on public holidays, maternity leave and all legal disputes that are not the responsibility of other Senates

Chairman: Vice-President Rüdiger Linck
1st assessor: Josef Biebl
2nd assessor: Anke Berger
3rd assessor: Annette Volk

6th Senate: Interpretation of collective agreements and similar regulations of the public service, the Allied Armed Forces, the predominantly publicly owned companies and religious societies, church employee representation law, insolvency law, termination of the employment relationship outside the scope of the Dismissal Protection Act , termination of the vocational training relationship, termination of the employment relationship in any way other than by giving notice

Chair: Karin Spelge
1st assessor: Markus Krumbiegel
2. Assistant: Claudia Wemheuer
3rd assessor: Ronny Heinkel

7th Senate: Termination of employment relationships due to a time limit or condition or due to the Temporary Employment Act as well as subsequent claims for continued employment, formal works constitution, staff representation and speaker committee law, decision-making procedure for an employee representative body formed in accordance with SGB ​​IX , co-determination in individual personnel measures

Chair: Edith Gräfl
1st assessor: Oliver Klose
2nd assessor: Maren Rennpferdt
3rd assessor: Matthias Waskow

8. Senate: Compensation for damages , compensation, contractual penalties, transfer of operations and related dismissals as well as subsequent claims for continued employment, reinstatement and severance payments

Chair: Anja Schlewing
1st assessor: Regine Winter
2nd assessor: Hinrich Vogelsang
3rd assessor: Sebastian Roloff

9. Senate: Vacation law , vacation pay, parental leave, partial retirement and other forms of early retirement , certificates, working papers and personnel files, entitlements to the establishment of an employment relationship, employee status, competitor lawsuit in the public service (Article 33, Paragraph 2 of the Basic Law), occupational health and safety, Employee invention right, reimbursement of expenses, vocational training, participation in working life according to SGB IX

Chairman: Heinrich Kiel
1st assessor: Margot Weber
2nd assessor: Jens Suckow
3rd assessor: Ralf Zimmermann

10. Senate: gratuities , stock options and special payments, result-oriented payments including piecework and premium wages, target agreements, allowances, surcharges and compensation for work performed under special circumstances, competition, commercial agent and enforcement law, labor and employment obligations, legal disputes that affect the relationship concern a common body of the parties to the collective bargaining agreement

Chair: Inken Gallner
1st assessor: Ulrike Brune
2nd assessor: Fabian Pulz
3rd assessor: Sascha Pessinger

Great Senate

If a Senate wishes to deviate from a decision of another Senate on a legal issue, it must call the Grand Senate in accordance with Section 45  (2)  ArbGG , which then decides on the case. In addition, a Senate can submit a legal question of fundamental importance to the Grand Senate for a decision if, in its opinion, this is necessary for the further development of the law or to ensure uniform jurisdiction ( Section 45  (4) ArbGG).

Pursuant to Section 45  (5) ArbGG, the Grand Senate is composed of the President of the Court, one professional judge (determined in the division of responsibilities) from each Senate and three honorary judges each from the circles of employees and employers.

Presidents and Vice Presidents

President of the Federal Labor Court
No. Name (life data) Beginning of the term of office Term expires
1 Hans Carl Nipperdey (1895–1968) April 12, 1954 January 31, 1963
2 Gerhard Müller (1912–1997) February 26, 1963 December 31, 1980
3 Otto Rudolf Kissel (* 1929) January 1, 1981 January 31, 1994
4th Thomas Dieterich (1934-2016) 4th February 1994 June 30, 1999
5 Hellmut Wißmann (* 1940) July 5, 1999 February 28, 2005
6th Ingrid Schmidt (* 1955) March 1, 2005 in office
Vice President of the Federal Labor Court ( 1 )
No. Name (life data) Beginning of the term of office Term expires
1 Wilhelm König (1905–1981) January 1, 1970 May 31, 1973
2 Fritz Poelmann (1913–1977) 4th July 1973 July 28, 1977
3 Hermann Stumpf (1912–1997) 1st December 1977 October 31, 1980
4th Friedrich Auffarth (1918-2004) November 7, 1980 January 31, 1986
5 Dirk Neumann (* 1923) February 1, 1986 April 30, 1990
6th Gisela Michels-Holl (* 1928) May 11, 1990 September 30, 1993
7th Karl Heinz Peifer (* 1937) October 1, 1993 August 31, 2002
8th Hans-Jürgen Dörner (* 1944) September 1, 2002 September 30, 2009
9 Rudi Müller-Glöge (* 1951) October 1, 2009 January 31, 2017
9 Rüdiger Linck (* 1959) 20th June 2017 in office
1 From October 1, 1972 to January 30, 1976, the official title was "permanent representative of the President"


Building in Erfurt

Jürgen Partenheimer, World Axis, here also the Beijing National Museum, 2000

On November 22, 1999, the Federal Labor Court began its operations in Erfurt - in a new service building designed by the architect Gesine Weinmiller and built between 1996 and 1999. The design won an architectural competition advertised across Europe in 1995 with 167 competition entries. In 2000, the completed building was awarded the Thuringian State Prize for Architecture and Urban Development . The course and location of the horn factory formerly located on the property are symbolically represented in the surrounding park by a granite path.

The rectangular, compact-looking four-storey structure has two inner courtyards and faces north. Its energy-saving climate skin with its many windows makes the building appear open despite its compactness.

Inside the building, dark American oak tones and natural stone floors made of pale green Ticino gneiss dominate. All public areas, such as the negotiation rooms , the casino or the library , which on the first floor surrounds the inner courtyard of the building, are accessed via a naturally-lit, two-storey foyer . One third of the axis grid, which is flexible for future use, is filled with massive slate panels that are arranged in 2: 1 alternation with the window elements and are offset from one another across the floors. This offset gives the Theumar slate facades a light-looking play of shapes. In their milled slate panels, there are movable glass sliding shutters decorated with enamelled writing as sun protection. The barely noticeable text that filters the sun represents the endlessly repeating first paragraph of the first article of the Basic Law.

The landscape architect Dieter Kienast is responsible for the design of the surrounding park .

The art in architecture comes from Ulrike Drasdo, Katharina Grosse , Veronika Kellendorfer, Klaus Kienold, Jürgen Partenheimer , Ricardo Saro, Rémy Zaugg and Ian Hamilton Finlay .

The address, at Hugo-Preuß -Platz 1, is reminiscent of a German constitutional lawyer who in 1918/1919 drafted a democratic Reich constitution that became the basis for the Weimar constitution and thus also for today's German Basic Law.

Official costume

The official costume for the judges and the clerks at the Federal Labor Court was determined by the order of the Federal President about the official costume at the Federal Labor Court and the Federal Social Court .
The official costume consists of an official robe and a beret . The trimmings on the crimson official robe and beret depend on the function. The trimmings are made of silk for judges and woolen for the notary staff. The President of the Federal Labor Court wears three gold cords on the beret, a presiding judge at the Federal Labor Court two gold cords and a judge at the Federal Labor Court two crimson cords. Today, berets are only worn for swearing in by honorary judges or in the Grand Senate. The previously common white necktie was replaced by white ties and shirts. Female federal judges only wear a white blouse.


The Federal Labor Court has a legal, labor law special library with around 98,000 volumes and around 270 current journals . As a court library, it is primarily available to judges and court staff. In addition, external parties can also use the library within the framework of the library's usage regulations.


  • Hartmut Oetker, Ulrich Preis, Volker Rieble: Festschrift 50 Years of the Federal Labor Court. Verlag CH Beck, 1st edition, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-51533-9 .
  • Gesine Weinmiller, Klaus Kinold: The Federal Labor Court in Erfurt , Richter Verlag; 2003. ISBN 3-933807-41-7 .

See also

Web links

Commons : Federal Labor Court  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Labor Court Act, Section 40, Paragraph 2 - Establishment .
  2. Wolfgang Linsenmaier: History of labor jurisdiction. In: bundesarbeitsgericht.de , accessed on May 30, 2012.
  3. a b c d e Duties of the Federal Labor Court and legal remedies. In: bundesarbeitsgericht.de , accessed on May 30, 2012.
  4. Federal Labor Court - Division of responsibilities November 2018 (accessed on November 1, 2018).
  5. Text of the arrangement (PDF file; 20 kB).
  6. Hannes Berger: Access to court libraries: An investigation into cultural law using the example of the highest federal courts . In: Journal for State Constitutional Law and State Administrative Law (ZLVR) 2/2021, pp. 34–45 ( online ).

Coordinates: 50 ° 58 ′ 38.7 ″  N , 11 ° 0 ′ 51.4 ″  E