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Recently, there have been a number of occurrences where U.S. companies in Germany have had difficulty accepting Germany’s “social partnership” that exists between employers and employees. Last week even, workers for Amazon from the two largest distribution centers in Germany walked out in protest as Amazon company management failed to come to a wage agreement with its employers, instead opting to its American policy in which employees have no reliable guarantee for their income.
U.S. fashion chain Hollister, which is owned by Abercrombie & Fitch, is another example of a company who has refused to conform to German labor practices. Ignoring German data protection guidelines, Hollister used video cameras to monitor its employees and searched them after every shift, treating them like potential shoplifters.
Such occurrences have even caused some companies to fail in Germany. Wal-Mart, for example, misjudged German labor laws by urging employees to permanently smile and disallowing employees to flirt and engage in romantic relationships with one another. All of these violated the personal rights of the employees and Wal-Mart didn’t understand why. Many U.S. companies view employee rights guaranteed in Germany’s Works Constitution Act as inconveniences that need to be avoided.
It seems that most U.S. companies approach this issue in a way that as some companies supply an identical product worldwide; they also want to incorporate the same personnel policy worldwide.
Author: Sean Foley, Legal Trainee, Bridgehouse Law Charlotte