In the case at hand, the representative body for severely disabled employees or the general representative body for severely disabled employees of a company with several locations had requested information from the employer. Two questions were addressed: which employees had been unable to work for more than six weeks in the past twelve months? For whom had a company integration management (betriebliches Eingliederungsmanagement, BEM) been initiated?
The employer provided the requested information. However, the employer did so only for the group of employees with severe disabilities, including people with disabilities of equal status.
The representatives of severely disabled employees were not content with this. They would be entitled to information on all employees. This would already result from Article 178 of the ninth book of the German Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch, SGB IX) In addition, the newly formulated definition of disability pursuant to Article 2.1 sentence 3 SGB IX also included people who were threatened by disability. It would be a violation of European law if the powers of representatives of severely disabled persons were limited only to people who were already recognized as severely disabled, they argued.
No Chance of Too Much Information
With this request, the representative body was unsuccessful both before the Labor Court Bielefeld and in the second instance before the Regional Labor Court (Landesarbeitsgericht, LAG) Hamm.
The LAG Hamm clarified that the requests applied to all employees without exception. However, the authority of the representative body of severely disabled persons within the entire workforce was limited to the group of severely disabled persons and disabled persons of equal status. This alone did not justify the requests.
In specifying the interest groups to be involved, the legislative body had limited the involvement of the Representative Body for Severely Disabled Persons to the group of severely disabled persons. This means that the works council alone is responsible for representing the interests of non-disabled persons, according to the LAG.
The Federal Labor Court Also Spoke Out
The Federal Labor Court already pointed out that it is the task of the representative body of severely disabled persons to represent the interests of severely disabled persons. However, if a matter has the same effect on all employees, the works council is responsible for protecting the employees’ interests. This ensured a complete representation of interests under collective law, the LAG Hamm said.