“Sharp intervention”: Employers criticize negotiation skills verdict
Berlin, Erfurt A ruling by the Federal Labor Court, according to which differences in earnings between women and men can no longer be justified by negotiating skills, causes controversy. “The decision is a sharp encroachment on the freedom of negotiation of employers and employees and reveals the absurdity of the Pay Transparency Act,” said Reinhold von Eben-Worlée, President of the Association of Family Business Owners, on Friday. The German Women’s Ring and the DGB spoke of a judgment that could change the world of work in Germany.
In a case from Saxony, the Federal Labor Court decided on Thursday that employers can no longer justify differences in earnings between women and men with their different negotiating skills. It awarded the plaintiff back wages and compensation.
Experts now expect that employers will not be able to deviate from the principle of “equal pay for equal work” even if a man demands a higher salary than his colleague with a comparable job. In practice, this means that employers can continue to respond to the earnings demands – but they would then have to increase the wages of an equally qualified and experienced employee, explained the Society for Freedom Rights, which had supported the plaintiff.
The family entrepreneurs criticized that even different salary requirements when starting or the negotiating skills of employees are no longer permissible criteria for performance-related remuneration. “Employers are thus deprived of the right to freely design contracts.” With the judgment, entrepreneurs would be placed under general suspicion “that they would deliberately discriminate”. Freedom of contract is based on the fundamental values of the economic system.
The German Women’s Ring said the verdict could mean that thousands more employment contracts would come under scrutiny in the coming weeks, months and years.
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