Personal liability

Germany is a country based on the rule of law. And there are many laws in Germany. The Germans abide by them. For Germans, rules and regulations are one way to reduce risk of personal liability. This can make working with Germans difficult for non-Germans. A conditional German yes might very well be based on the fear of being made personally responsible for the outcome of an agreement.

Working with Germans or setting foot on German soil immediately involves coming in contact with German laws. Why are escalators in Germany so slow? Because the store owner is liable for any accidents.

Bus drivers in Germany will only let passengers enter or exit at designated bus stops, even if it is only ten meters away. For legal reasons. When sending an email to a group of friends the other email addresses should not be visible. Personal email addresses are private and protected by Datenschutz, information privacy protection laws.

Computers often need repair. Employees of companies are not permitted to take action, unless they are in the IT department. If repairing leads to further damage, the employee is personally liable. For it is not their job, but the employer‘s, to repair company equipment.

The same goes for cleaning. Rolling up your sleeves and cleaning dirty windows in your office is a nice gesture, but not a good idea in Germany. The employee is liable for any injury incurred during the cleaning. The company‘s insurance company certainly will not pick up the costs. And the company can even charge the employee for not focusing on the work they are paid for.

German laws also prescribe clearly in which locations what kinds of commercial space can be used for. Many an organization has learned the hard way that the space they rented cannot be used for the purposes they intended.