Our team of experienced legal advisers at Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich assists employers on the full range of industrial relations law.  This includes representing employers in negotiations with trade unions and works councils as well as works council members.

We advise our long-standing clients on designing their industrial relations strategy, defending claims by works council members regarding detrimental treatment or dismissal, drafting and amending shop agreements and collective bargaining agreements, as well as establishing national (and group / European) works councils.

Restructurings, redundancies & terminations

There are often strict restructuring and redundancy laws and regulations to comply with in a particular jurisdiction.

In Austria for example, an employer is obliged to notify the relevant works council of a proposed alteration of the company with sufficient time to allow the council to deliberate. Such alterations include any limitation of operation, shutdown or relocation of the company, mass redundancies, merger with other companies or change of the business purpose or organisation. The introduction of new processes or considerable restructuring measures may also qualify as reportable alterations.

Similar employment law regimes are in place in other jurisdictions in which we practice. As such, when an employer intends to make major changes, it is important to have responsive, experienced legal advisers to provide practical advice through the whole process.

Our experienced team assists employers regularly on the full range of industrial relations law, including the drafting and implementation of social plans in the course of restructuring measures.

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Industrial relations strategy

We support our clients to implement effective industrial relations strategies.

Whilst our specialists work with employers from many different sectors, our advice is always tailored to our clients’ needs. Thus, we consider not only the type of workforce you have but also the relationship you have (and want to have) with your employee representatives and unions.

Advising in this field is not just a question of applying black letter law – it is about recognising what works and what does not. This sums up our experience and approach.

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Works council members

In Europe, members of the works council as well as employees participating in the election process of a works council have special protection against termination of their employment.

Therefore, neither a termination by giving notice nor a termination with immediate effect is enforceable without (generally prior) approval by a court.

We regularly assist clients to implement termination of employment in these situations.

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Collective bargaining agreements and shop agreements

A collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is a written agreement entered into between employers’ associations and employees’ associations for the purpose of (1) regulating working conditions and (2) regulating the legal relations between the parties to the CBA. As a general rule in certain jurisdictions, a CBA is concluded for all businesses and all employees of an industry.  In Mexico, the most common type of collective bargaining agreements are entered into between the employer and the union that represents the majority of the employees.  A CBA contains mandatory provisions which, within the scope of the CBA, will directly affect each single employment agreement.

Shop agreements are agreements entered into between the works council, if any, and the proprietors. They must be in writing and may only regulate the specific matters which either by law or by the applicable collective agreements are reserved to shop agreements.

Some issues, such as introducing a disciplinary code or particular control mechanisms, may only be pursued when a shop agreement exists.

These provisions must be understood as having a direct impact on the individual employment contract and as existing parallel to the agreement itself.

In other jurisdictions, we advise the employer in all matters concerning collective labor relationships under the applicable law (e.g in Mexico, the Federal Labor Law).

Our Austrian team regularly advises our clients on the Labour Constitution Act of Austria. This Act provides for the basic provisions of the applicable collective employment law in Austria dealing, inter alia, with issues regarding works councils and their members, shop agreements or a collective bargaining agreement. However, it also contains important provisions on protection against dismissal.

Additionally, we are regularly assisting our clients in negotiating and concluding collective bargaining agreements as well as shop agreements (in particular, social plans in connection with restructurings and flexi-time schemes or compensation schemes).

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National (and group / European) works councils

The relationship between employer and works council is of utmost importance.  In other jurisdictions, the role of works councils is performed by a union representing the majority of employees in a company or by mixed commissions integrated by the employer’s and the employees’ representatives.

A works council is entitled to supervise compliance with the laws relating to the employees of the business. To do so, the works council may inspect the records kept in the business on employee remuneration and other employee related information and documentation.

A works council may request the owner – and also the competent authorities outside the business – to remove irregularities and carry out the necessary measures.

Our experts at Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich provide clients with value beyond plain legal advice. We are dedicated and trusted legal advisors who will work tirelessly to deliver the best commercial outcomes, underpinned by strategic focus.

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Hans Georg Laimer
Partner - Vienna
Lukas Wieser
Counsel - Vienna
Eva-Maria Mayer
Senior Associate - New York
Melina Peer
Senior Associate - Vienna
  • Assisting a Japanese multination electrical engineering and software company with regard to employment law related questions of a restructuring process, including a social plan.

  • Advising an Austrian Gambling Corporation in a personnel restructering process including the negotiations of a social plan and drawing up of a new minimum salary scheme.

  • Assisting an Austrian lottery company in a restructering process including the drafting and negotiation of a social plan.

  • Advising an Austrian manufacturer of vehicle lighting systems and electronic components on employment and industrial relations matters, including working time scheme, shop agreements and employee’s IP rights. Representing the company in court proceedings against employees challenging their employment termination (Austrian courts).

  • Advising a leading Austrian insurance group in employment law and industrial relations matters in connection with the restructuring of its group companies.

  • Assisting a leading Austrian construction company during the COVID-19 pandemic on the full range of employment and industrial relations issues, including interpretation of government relief schemes, facilitating changes of the workforce, drafting and adjustment of home-office arrangements and reductions in force.

  • Assisting a German manufacturer of products from carbon, with regard to the intra group elections of its Societas Europaea works council.

  • Assisting an Austrian manufacturer of industrial rubber and plastic in employment and industrial relations matters, such as the elections of its European Works Council

  • Advising a German multinational freight company with regard to the implementation of employee programmes and the statutorily applicable collective bargaining agreement

  • Ongoing employment and industrial relations law support of a multination Swedish business information company, including the amendment of the commission scheme and the establishment of an European Works Council.

  • Assisting a world leading chemical company (one of our long-standing clients) in all operative day-to-day employment, industrial relations and pension issues. Supporting the company in all employment related aspects of a recent M&A deal (TUPE). Advising on timeline for meeting the information and consultation requirements towards the works council and the protection afforded to employees in the course of a transfer of undertakings situation.

  • Supporting a French multinational engineering and technology consulting group in setting up their European Works Council.

  • Supporting an Austrian integrated oil and gas company in every aspect of their employment and industrial relations issues.Representing the company in court proceedings against an employee claiming higher pension entitlements than currently paid out. The case is of utmost importance, as further employees may raise similar claims (Austrian court).
    Assisting the company in the court proceedings against a former contractor regarding the existence of an employment relationship.

  • Advising a catering service company for cruise ships on matters of employment law and industrial relations, including the applicability of Austrian collective bargaining agreement to their employees.

  • Assisting Japanese owned Austrian manufacturer of fine bubble aeration systems in launching their new working time and flexi-time schemes.
    Supporting the client in defending the implementation of a surveillance system against the claims of the works council.

  • Advising an Austrian glass producer with regard to employment and industrial relation law matters including claims under the collective bargaining agreement, employee data protection and the implementation of home office schemes.

  • Supporting a leading German multinational home improvement supplies retailing company in all employment related matters, including assistance in drawing-up a data-protection law compliant HR system and its implementation, in line with the respective requirements under Austrian employment law, for about 3,500 employees in Austria.
    Assisting the company in defending their current working time schemes against claims of numerous employees and the works council for introduction of a 4-day working week, based on the newly introduced collective bargaining agreement.
    Representing the company in court proceedings against one of its former employees claiming re-instatement of her employment based on allegedly socially unfair notice of termination and discriminatory treatment in connection with employment termination (Austrian courts).

  • Assisting a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company with all their day-to-day employment law issues.
    Representing the company against a former employee in a court proceeding (Austrian courts).
    Assisting the company with issues involving parental part time arrangements and works-council members, including the adjustment of their contractual roles within the entity.
    Supporting the company to duly conduct their works council elections in 2020 during the COVID pandemic.

  • Assisting a leading Spanish producer of sanitary ceramics with a strong position in Switzerland and Austria in restructuring their Austrian entity. Advising the company on all employment matters, conducting negotiations with the trade unions and the works council on a social plan, preparation of notices of termination and planning of overall reduction in force.

    Best Lawyers 2021

    • Hans Georg Laimer
      Labour and Employment Law 2021
    • Hans Georg Laimer
      Recommended lawyer 2020

    Chambers Europe 2020

    • Andreas Tinhofer
      Employment: Austria 2020 (Band 1)
      “Sources continue to single out Andreas Tinhofer as a "very well-connected" figure and "an important person in the market," going on to praise his "brilliant brain and huge expertise." An experienced litigator, he also advises on non-contentious employment law mandates, including restructurings and company pensions issues.”
    • Hans Georg Laimer
      Employment: Austria 2020 - Band 4
      “He has excellent communication skills and always offers the best advice and service, due to his in-depth knowledge and years of experience," notes an appreciative source.”

    Best Lawyers 2020

    • Andreas Tinhofer
      Austria 2020

    JUVE 2020

    • Andreas Tinhofer
      Employment Law 2020
      “outstanding reputation”, “excellent”, “very creative, very reliable”
    • Andreas Tinhofer
      Austria: Labour, Employment and Benefits 2020
    • Hans Georg Laimer
      Austria: Labour, Employment and Benefits 2020
      Hans Georg Laimer is revered for his “in-depth knowledge of labour law” and his “client-oriented and highly professional approach in and out of court”.
    • Hans Georg Laimer
      Austria: Thought Leader in Labour & Employment 2020
      “Hans Georg Laimer is revered for his “in-depth knowledge of labour law” and his “client-oriented and highly professional approach in and out of court”.”

    TREND Anwaltsranking 2020

    • Hans Georg Laimer
      Top 10 Austrian Employment Law Experts 2020

    Handelsblatt 2019

    • Hans Georg Laimer
      Arbeitsrecht 2019

    TREND Anwaltsranking 2019

    • Andreas Tinhofer
      Top 10 ranking in the category “Employment Law”

    Chambers Europe 2019

    • Hans Georg Laimer
      "Hans Georg Laimer counts a number of prominent companies among his client base and acts in both contentious and non-contentious employment issues, ranging from pensions to disputed terminations. "He is reliable, solution-oriented and helpful,"" reports a satisfied client.”
    • Andreas Tinhofer
      “Andreas Tinhofer maintains an outstanding market reputation for his broad employment practice, which also covers social law mandates. One interviewee notes his ability to conduct negotiations in a diplomatic manner: "He has a phenomenal ability to bring calm into very tough negotiations.“"
    • Hans Georg Laimer
      "Hans Georg Laimer is 'one of the most respected and responsive lawyers in the field' and a 'highly professional and competent individual' whose 'advice can be fully counted on'."
    • Hans Georg Laimer
      "The "fantastic" Hans Georg Laimer is a labour and employment law specialist with a leading expertise in industrial relations matters."

    JUVE 2018

    • Andreas Tinhofer
      Recommended - “Employment Law” for Austria

    Chambers Europe 2017

    • Hans Georg Laimer
      Leading Individual 2017 (Band 4, Employment)
      "Hans Georg Laimer has a lot of integrity, he is very exact, he doesn't mess around and he is very solution-oriented."

    Chambers Global 2016

    • Hans Georg Laimer
      "Clients praise Hans Georg Laimer of zeiler.partners Rechtsanwälte GmbH as "very structured, with a good understanding of our views and needs.""

    Chambers Europe 2014

    • Hans Georg Laimer
      "Clients praise Hans Georg Laimer's employment and data protection law capabilities. Market commentators describe him as "an excellent legal adviser.""
    • Hans Georg Laimer
      "Hans Laimer is diligent, knowledgeable and practical."