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Transfer of undertakings in the Czech Republic: what are an employee’s ‘working conditions’?

Czech Republic
Written by
Randl Partners, advokátní kancelář, s.r.o. largest boutique firm focusing on HR law.
The Czech Supreme Court has held that an employee’s ‘working conditions’ in the context of exercising his or her rights under transfer of undertakings rules are not limited to the elements set out in the Labour Code.

The purpose of the legislation on transfer of rights and obligations under labour law relationships according to s 338 et seq. of the Labour Code is to preserve the position and rights of the employees who (regardless of their wishes) are transferred to another employer.

If the employee’s working conditions worsen significantly on this transfer, he/she can give the employer a notice of termination during the following two months and also claim severance payment according to s 67 of the Labour Code. Up until now, however, it was not clear what can be included in these working conditions.

The Supreme Court has ruled in a case in which an employee gave his new employer notice of termination for various reasons including change of communication language from Czech to Polish, more overtime work, change of workload and corresponding responsibilities and the introduction of a video surveillance system. The Supreme Court agreed with the employee that for the purposes of this provision, work conditions  cannot be limited only to those expressly stated in the Labour Code (i.e. type and place of work, remuneration). It concluded that anything perceived by the employee in the workplace can be considered to be part of his or her ‘working conditions’. However, all these facts must be objectively concluded to have a negative impact on quality of the employment relationship, meaning that the employee’s subjective perception does not matter.

Needless to say, each case is specific and only the court will have the final word.

Judgement of Supreme Court No. 21 Cdo 1148/2019

Michal Peškar
Michal Peškar
Partner - Czech Republic
Randl Partners, advokátní kancelář, s.r.o.