Employees and employers can appeal to the labor courts in the event of disputes arising from the employment relationship. According to the Labor Court Act, there are
- Labor courts (1st instance),
- regional labor courts (2nd instance) and
- the Federal Labor Court in Erfurt (3rd instance).
The jurisdiction of the labor courts extends to all legal disputes between employees and employers arising from the employment relationship (e.g. remuneration, continued payment of remuneration, damages, termination, vacation, vacation pay, surrender of employment papers and issuance of a certificate), to legal disputes between parties to collective bargaining agreements and to matters arising from the Works Constitution Act, irrespective of the amount in dispute.
The labor court in whose district the defendant has his or her residence or place of business has local jurisdiction. The seat of the administration or the branch office is also possible. Furthermore, the labor court in whose district the employee usually performs his or her work shall also have jurisdiction.
As far as representation in court is concerned, the parties may conduct the proceedings themselves in the first instance or be represented by an authorized representative (e.g. representative of the association, attorney-at-law). In the 2nd instance before the Regional Labor Court and the 3rd instance before the Federal Labor Court, the parties must be represented by attorneys or association representatives (compulsory representation).