Labor court proceedings; filing of a complaint with the labor court

You can file a lawsuit with the labor court in case of disputes arising from the employment relationship.


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).


A lawsuit may be filed in the event of a dispute between employees and employers arising from the employment relationship.


The complaint may be filed in writing or orally for the record at the Registry (Legal Claims Office). For the purpose of reaching an amicable agreement between the parties, a conciliation hearing shall first take place before the chairman.

In the case of monetary claims, an order for payment may be issued and - if no objection is lodged or if it is not lodged in good time - an enforcement order may be issued.

Special notes

In principle, the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure apply to enforcement of labor court judgments, with certain deviations with regard to enforceability. The judgments of the labor courts against which an objection or appeal is admissible are provisionally enforceable by operation of law. Preliminary enforceability may only be excluded within narrow limits if the defendant demonstrates that enforcement would cause him or her irreparable disadvantage and submits a corresponding application.


  • Action for protection against dismissal: within three weeks after receipt of the notice of termination.
  • Action to terminate a fixed-term employment relationship: within three weeks after the agreed end or notification that the employment relationship will not be continued (= occurrence of the condition subsequent)
  • Action under Section 15 of the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) for compensation: three months after written claim
  • Action for payment: no statutory period, possibly individual period in personal employment contract or collective agreement
  • Order to pay: no statutory time limit, possibly individual time limit in personal employment contract or collective agreement

Required documents

  • Employment contract, if applicable

  • Letter of termination, if applicable

  • Payroll, if applicable


  • In proceedings before the labor court, a one-time fee, which is based on the amount in dispute, and expenses are charged as court costs. In proceedings before the courts of labor jurisdiction, the fee rates are lower than in proceedings before the courts of ordinary jurisdiction. Advances on costs are not charged; this also applies to compulsory enforcement. No fees are charged in the instance in which the entire legal dispute is terminated by court settlement.

    The costs of legal representation shall be borne by each party in the 1st instance. Reimbursement of attorney's fees and compensation for loss of time (loss of earnings) by the other party are excluded by law. In the 2nd and 3rd instance, the unsuccessful party shall bear the costs of the legal dispute, in particular the costs incurred by the opposing party, insofar as they were necessary for the appropriate prosecution or legal defense.

    If a party is unable to bear the costs of the legal proceedings, or can only bear them in part or in installments, legal aid may be applied for if the intended legal action or legal defense offers sufficient prospect of success. In the first instance, a lawyer of the party's choice who is prepared to represent the party shall be assigned to the party within the framework of legal aid if representation by a lawyer appears necessary or if the opponent is represented by a lawyer.


Court decisions contain information on the right of appeal or legal remedy, which indicates the applicable time limit in each case.

The legal remedies are appeal, revision and complaint.

Appeals against labor court rulings are made to the regional labor courts. An appeal may only be lodged if the value of the object of the appeal exceeds 600.00 euros or if it is a dispute about the existence of the company (e.g. dismissal) or if the appeal has been admitted in the judgment of the labor court. The appeal must always be allowed if the case is of fundamental importance or the case concerns legal disputes between parties to collective agreements arising from collective agreements or concerning the existence or non-existence of collective agreements. The time limit for appeal shall be one month, and the time limit for filing the grounds of appeal shall be two months from the date of service of the judgment of the 1st instance, which shall be in full form, but not later than the expiry of 5 months from the date of delivery. In certain cases, a judgment of the Labor Court may be appealed to the Federal Labor Court (i.e. without prior appeal proceedings).

An appeal to the Federal Labor Court against a judgment of a state labor court takes place if it has been permitted by the state labor court or by the Federal Labor Court in response to a complaint of non-admission. The time limit for the appeal is one month, the time limit for its substantiation is two months.

Appeals against other decisions of the Labor Court shall be decided by the Regional Labor Court. All judgments and other decisions that can be appealed with a time-limited right of appeal contain a notice of appeal.


Responsible for editing:Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Familie, Arbeit und Soziales

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