Employees may be unable to work due to heat
“This makes it very difficult for employees to determine when in individual cases there is an obligation to work and when not.” However, simply refusing to work is not a good idea, because employees can risk a warning or even dismissal.
Bredereck recommends that the employer first adhere to his obligations to design the to remind you of the workplace, which are specified, for example, in the workplace rules. The works council can also help with this.
Anyone who suffers from health problems due to the temperatures at their workplace should see a doctor. There may be an inability to work under the given conditions.
How warm can it be at the workplace?
Specific temperature specifications result from the workplace rules, which also contain specifications for room temperature. According to Bredereck, the employer must first take precautions against excessive exposure to the sun. In addition, if the interior temperature exceeds 26 degrees Celsius, he must equip components with suitable sun protection systems.
It’s still warmer inside than 26 degree, the employer must take additional measures if the work leads to a health hazard, for example in the case of heavy physical work or because the employees have a previous health condition or are particularly vulnerable. “The employer has to adapt his risk assessment for this purpose,” said the specialist lawyer.
From a temperature of 30 degrees, the employer must take other effective measures, such as relaxing the dress code or installing ventilation systems. “Technical and organizational measures have priority over personal measures,” explains Bredereck. “So first ventilation, then relaxation of the clothing regulations.”
From a temperature of 35 degrees, according to Bredereck, interior rooms are then only allowed be used as work rooms under very strict conditions.
How strict can dress codes be at high temperatures?
“If the employer has a reasonable interest in the employee’s specific clothing or if this is even regulated in the employment contract, the interest does not cease to apply from a certain temperature”, Bredereck clarifies.
However, the employer is obliged to take precautionary measures at the workplace. “If he succeeds in doing this, for example with an air conditioner, the dress code will remain in place in full.”
If he does not succeed, relaxing the dress code can be a measure . “The limit here is always the possible harassment of the other employees, for example by clothing that is too revealing,” says Bredereck.