What’s a transfer?
A transfer is the assignment of another area of work that involves a significant change in the circumstances in which the work is to be performed. It must also be of a certain duration. A different work area exists if the place of work or the task changes significantly. This is often the case when there is a change of department.
Right to direction
The employer has a limited right to direction. This can have serious consequences for employees: New colleagues or superiors with whom the livelihood could not be as good as before, or the need to move to another place with negative consequences for private life.
A legal regulation can be found in § 106 GewO. Afterwards the employer can determine contents, place and time of the work achievement more near. However, he is limited in the exercise of his right to issue instructions.
These limits can arise, for example, from the employment contract itself. If “Berlin” is specified as the place in the employment contract, the employee does not have to work in “Munich”. However, if the employment contract also contains a transfer clause, something else may apply. Collective bargaining agreements often also impose limits on the employer’s right to issue instructions.
Furthermore, the transfer must take place at “equitable discretion”, which means that the employer must always take the interests of the employee into account. If the employer knows that the employee has three school-age children and could transfer a colleague without children, the transfer may not be fair. Other private circumstances and health restrictions must also be taken into account. If the employer exceeds the limits of the directive, the instruction is not binding on the employee.
If a works council has been formed, it must be consulted beforehand.
I will be happy to advise you on the possibilities of legal protection against transfers. You will receive an appointment in my office at short notice.