Does a managing director of a German limited liability company (GmbH) have to appear in person at a conciliation hearing of a labor court?

Disputes between employees and employers in Germany often result in court proceedings. If the employer is a German GmbH, it is generally represented by its managing directors. If an employee files a lawsuit against the GmbH, there is first a conciliation hearing at a German labor court.

The question for the managing director is whether it is sufficient for him to send his lawyer to the conciliation hearing or whether he must also appear in person in the courtroom.

It depends on whether the German labor court has ordered the personal appearance of the defendant at the hearing or not. If the labor court has ordered the personal appearance of the employer, the managing director of the GmbH must appear in person at the conciliation hearing.

If the managing director does not have time or is in another city, he can send his lawyer to the hearing instead. However, he must make sure that the lawyer is well versed in the matter himself and is authorized to conclude settlements. This requires the disclosure of all relevant information and a special power of attorney.