Hans Georg Laimer is a founding partner and a dedicated specialist in all areas of employment and industrial relations law. Hans’s practice encompasses both contentious and non-contentious matters and his client base ranges from small firms to listed multi-national companies across all sectors. He assists employers regularly with restructuring measures, including the drafting, negotiation and implementation of social plans. Hans is a seasoned litigator and has successfully defended employers before employment tribunals in unfair dismissal claims and discrimination cases.
What inspired you to pursue a legal career?
I was supposed to become a technician, but timely managed to switch to law. It was a good decision.
What do clients look for in an effective labour and employment lawyer?
This goes for all lawyers: their availability. It goes without saying that the legal services provided must always be impeccable.
What are the most common sources of employment disputes and how do you think clients can minimise the risks of them occurring?
Problems often occur if the individual’s aims cannot be aligned with the overall targets of the employer. Effective people management can help mitigate these risks by duly incentivising employees.
Also, having an effective industrial relations strategy in place helps our clients prevent disputes with the workforce or their representatives from the outset.
How has covid-19 affected clients? What do you predict to be the long-term effects of the pandemic on your practice?
Every company was affected by covid-19. Some have thrived, some are suffering. In both cases, the ongoing support of our clients in employment matters will assist them in overcoming the problems that the pandemic brought about.
What do you think will be the biggest challenges faced by the next generation of employment lawyers?
The impact of work 4.0 and the increasing digitalisation will provide for a massive challenge, not only for employment lawyers.
The global interconnectedness and the increased cooperation between man and machine will create new products and services. The cultural and social change creates new demands for work, and the demand for products and services is also changing.
We are at the beginning of new negotiation processes between individuals, social partners and the state. It requires all of us to stay ahead of the game and be prepared for what’s yet to come.
What qualities distinguish Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich from its competitors in the market?
At ZFZ, our team comprises a selection of seasoned employment specialists. We will continue working closely with our clients and strive to make their goals our own goals.
In which direction would you like to steer your practice in the next five years?
Restructurings will remain an important area for our clients in the near future. However, the changes in the working environment may also require employers to adjust their businesses and the relations with (the representatives of) their workforce. Given the current situation, we also contend that supporting our clients in contentious matters will remain an important part of our services. With our practice, we will continue to focus on the needs of our clients and support them in their upcoming challenges.
What is the best piece of career advice that you have ever received?
Keep calm and carry on.
Hans Georg Laimer is a founding partner of Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich, an international law firm devoted to excellence in advocacy and legal practice with offices in New York, Vienna, London, Mexico City, Chicago, Houston and Sydney. Before setting up his own firm, Hans headed the international employment practice of a leading full-service law firm in Central Europe.
Hans regularly speaks at national and international conferences on labour and employment law-related topics and publishes in his field. He is a lecturer on HR issues at the University of Applied Sciences BFI Vienna. He is a graduate of the University of Vienna (Mag iur, 2000, Dr iur, 2002) and the London School of Economics (LLM Labour Law, 2003). He is fluent in English and German.
Hans heads the nine-member team of dedicated employment law specialists at Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich. The team supports employers in all aspects of individual and collective employment law, from the beginning of an employment relationship to its termination. The practice encompasses both contentious and non-contentious matters, and the client base ranges from small firms to listed multinational companies across all sectors. Hans’ expertise includes, among others, advice on restructuring of businesses and transfers of undertakings (including expert M&A employment support); white-collar crime; data protection; maternity and paternity issues (including parental leave and parental part-time arrangements); service inventions; and post-termination restrictive covenants.
He regularly assists employers in all employment aspects of rewards and incentives – from drafting employment/management contracts, ensuring that the contracts and reward packages offered to employees are designed to incentivize employees in line with the business objectives, to providing tax-friendly settlement agreements. Together with his clients, Hans develops industrial relations strategies and defends employers against claims by works council members. He frequently supports his clients in drafting and amending shop agreements, and advises his clients on the relevant issues against trade unions and works councils, and against work council members.
Hans’ expertise further extends to occupational pension issues including, among other things, the effect of employment termination on pensions; the amendment of pension terms; the contents and scope of employer pension obligations; and pension issues arising in the wake of transfer of undertakings.
Being a seasoned litigator, Hans has successfully defended employers before employment tribunals in unfair dismissal claims and numerous discrimination cases, as well as in connection with requests for reinstatement and wage-and-hour cases.
Additionally, he has abundant experience in representing clients in relation to employment tribunal litigation on works council elections; transfer of undertakings and their influence on works councils; and on conciliation board litigation, as well as social plans and shop agreements.
With his nearly two decades of experience in the field, he has advised employers on designing their industrial relations strategy; he has defended employers against claims by works council members regarding detrimental treatment or dismissal on the grounds of their status; he has supported employers in drafting and amending shop agreements and collective bargaining agreements; and he has advised employers in connection with the intended establishment of national (and group/European) works councils.