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Law on Freedom of Occupation [Gewerbefreiheit] and Freedom of Coalition [Koalitionsfreiheit] (June 21, 1869)

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§ 16. The construction of facilities that may pose serious disadvantages, dangers, or nuisance to the owners or occupants of adjacent properties, or even to the general public, on account of the location or the nature of the business premises requires the approval of the authority responsible in accordance with state laws.*

[ . . . ]

§ 26. The existing laws that protect one property from the detrimental effects of an adjacent one grant to the owner or proprietor of the damaged property the right to bring private action; in the case of business premises constructed with the approval of the authorities, however, such legal action can never be initiated for the purpose of terminating the business enterprise but only to provide for facilities that would eliminate the detrimental effects, or, where such facilities are not expedient or are incompatible with the proper operation of the trade, to provide for indemnification.

[ . . . ]

§ 51. If a business facility presents disadvantages or dangers to the common good, its further use may be prohibited at any time by a higher administrative authority. In such a case, however, the proprietor must be provided with compensation for verifiable damages.

Filing an appeal against the prohibitive decree is admissible; with respect to compensation, the proprietor has recourse to legal action.

[ . . . ]

[II: Freedom of Coalition**]

§ 152. All prohibitions and penal statutes directed against business persons, business assistants, journeymen, or factory workers on account of their participation in agreements and associations aiming to secure favorable wage or working conditions, particularly those involving work stoppages or the dismissal of workers, are revoked.

Each participant is free to withdraw from such associations or agreements, without the threat of legal action or objection on the part of the latter.

§ 153. Anyone inducing or attempting to induce others by means of physical force, threats, or ostracism to participate in such agreements (§ 152) or to obey them, or anyone hindering or attempting to hinder others by the same means to withdraw from such agreements, will be punished with up to three months’ imprisonment, provided a more severe penalty does not take effect in accordance with the general Criminal Code.

* The subsequent passages of § 16 paragraph 2 include a list of all facilities subject to paragraph 1.
** The following § 152 of the Trade Regulations reproduced here eliminated, in particular, the ban on coalitions included in the Prussian Trade Regulations dated January 17, 1845 (Gesetzesammlung, p. 41)

Source: Bundesgesetzblatt des Norddeutschen Bundes [Federal Law Gazette of the North German Confederation], 1869, pp. 245ff.

Original German text reprinted in Ernst Rudolf Huber, ed., Dokumente zur Deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte [Documents on German Constitutional History], 3rd rev. ed., vol. 2, 1851-1900. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1986, pp. 310-12.

Translation: Erwin Fink

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