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Time limitation of an employment contract in the case of previous employment

Limiting an employment relationship for no objective or material reason is permitted, in principle, for up to two years unless an employment relationship had already existed between the parties at some point previously (pre-employment prohibition). However, according to case law, this prohibition would not apply if the pre-employment had been a very long time ago. The question that now arises is what period of time should be viewed as being “very long”.

In this respect, while an interim period of eight years is not long enough (Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) from 23.1.2019), 22 years is in any case sufficient. The BAG recently decided this in its ruling from 21.8.2019 (case reference: 7 AZR 452/17). In the event of such a long interval between the periods of employment, under a constitutional interpretation, it would not be reasonable to prohibit time limitation for no objective or material reason.

Please note: Unfortunately, the ruling did not include precise details of the length of time after which this prohibition starts to be not reasonable.

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