Tue, Mar. 30, 2004

Sexual Harassment and Dismissal

CK - Washington.   Sexual harassment will justify the termination of an employee with immediate effect under German law, the Supreme Labor Court in Kassel ruled on March 24, 2004, case number 2 AZR 341/03. It also determined that consent may constitute a viable defense under §2 (2) of the Employee Protection Statute, Beschäftigtenschutzgesetz, or BSchG. It remanded the case to the lower court for a factual determination of the employee's claim that the alleged sexual activity with another employee was consensual. This distinction would appear similar to American principles under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which includes sexual harassment among the forms of sexual discrimination and requires an act to be unwelcome to qualify for statutory sanctions.

Telecom Antitrust Ruling

ASG - Washington.   The German Supreme Court ruled today that former telecom monopolist, Deutsche Telekom, abused its dominating power in the market for conventional telephone networks in 2000.

Deutsche Telekom bundled its ISDN lines and access to the Internet without base charges. Its subsidiary T-Online provided the Internet service. Its competitor, America Online Germany, claimed that Deutsche Telekom which provides 80% of the conventional telephone lines abused its market domination to develop the market for Internet access and excluded competitors.

The Supreme Court agreed and ruled that Deutsche Telekom acted unfairly, without any objective necessity for bundling such services. As a result, Deutsche Telekom faces a damages claim by AOL.

Attorneys Subject to Money Laundering Law

CK - Washington.   Today, the Constitional Court in Karlsruhe ruled that the money laundering law of §261 StGB as applied to attorneys is constitutional. Handakte Weblawg notes that lawyers need to have positive knowledge of the illicit origin of funds before the criminal statute applies to them.

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