Advice on company restructurings

How you can protect yourself and what you can do

Companies change. The reasons are most often of an economic nature. As employee this can be unsettling: Will you be relocated? Or even “axed”? Only those who know their rights can exercise them.

What happens during a restructuring

If you, as employee, are affected by a restructuring, your options depend on the nature and extent of the restructuring. If essential parts of operation are reorganized or fundamental changes in organization are conducted, then according to the industrial relations law an operational change is taking place. If an employee representative committee exists, they will initially represent the interests of the employees. It is they, who will negotiate with the employer about a balance of interests and a social plan.

The employee representative committee negotiates about a balance of interests and a social plan

During a balance of interests the modalities of the operational change are negotiated. A social plan is supposed to mitigate the economic effects of an operational change (e.g. by providing moving funds or severance pay). When the employer conducts an operational change, as employee, you will at least be awarded compensation claims from the associated social plan.

How you can become active yourself

You may also act independently of the employee representative committee. If you are being transferred, this can only happen according to the requirements of your employment contract. If your employment contract states a specific area of operation and function, these must be consistent with the new position. What you can do: You, as employee, can try to negotiate for compensation claims. Please discuss your options with our legal experts. 

What you can do when being terminated

When terminating, an employer must adhere to strict requirements – dictated by the employment contract, an operating agreement or a collective agreement. That is why employers often offer termination agreements, which provide severance pay. Be critical with these. These contracts may trigger locking periods for unemployment benefits and you could lose remuneration claims (e.g. from overtime). Nevertheless employees can use the negotiations to their advantage, if they are made aware of the consequences. That is why, in any case, you should seek counsel from a specialized lawyer in the field of labor law. Our law firm will gladly help you. In case of termination we guarantee you an appointment for consultation with our law firm within 48 hours.

A restructuring does not necessarily need to be disadvantageous. However those who think their jobs are in danger or who feel disadvantaged must act to make effective use of their rights. You do not need to tolerate everything, if you are unsatisfied. We will gladly advise you about your options and about which negotiations with your employer are sensible for you.

Should you ask for an interim report during a restructuring? What do you have to accept and what not?

You have other questions? We will gladly help you with all other things related to labor law. 

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