Navigation Lawsuit


After unsuccessfully trying to find a diplomatic solution with my institute first and with the central administration of the MPG later, I decided to present a claim at the Labor Court (Arbeitsgericht) in Bonn. A legal action could not have waited any longer due to the prescription time (Verjährungsfrist) of two years for Labor Law cases in Germany. The internal syndicate ((Betriebsrat) of the institute addressed me to Mr. Karl Schucht, of the law firm Towes-Hertel-Marchand (Bonn). The claim was submitted on December 23rd, 2003.

Mr. Schucht decided to approach the issue by claiming that I was treated like an employee although I did not have a regular employment contract. I would therefore be entitled to receive a compensation for the lack of social security benefits and for the difference between the wages provided by a contract and those provided by a fellowship.

The evidences presented included:

  • A communication addressed to all PhD students (regardless of whether paid with a fellowship or with an employment contract) stating that filing a formal request of holidays was mandatory.
  • A communication that the institute claimed all the rights on an invention that I had made and which led to a patent application.
  • Various orders and requests received by the institute director.