Football, music and more: radio and television at work

Radio und TV am Arbeitsplatz

For many people, listening to music at work is a joyful backdrop. Sounds from the radio lift the mood and make many things easier to handle. And when important football matches are coming up, such as now in summer 2024 at the European Championships at home, many people fancy a portable TV in the office. But is this even allowed at work? The Northwind HR team explains the legal situation regarding radio and television at work.

Musik and TV in office

Legal situation: Listening to music at work

Whether from the radio or other sound equipment: If listening to music does not impair the concentration and performance of all affected employees at work, it is permitted in principle. The Federal Labour Court already decided this in 1986 (BAG, 1 ABR 75/83).

However, an employer can seek a ban. However, this requires the works council to have a say, which is regulated in the Works Constitution Act (§ 87 Para. 1 No. 1 BetrVG). Only if the company does not have a works council can the employer use its right of direction to decide for itself whether or not it wishes to authorise listening to music. In doing so, however, the employer must take proportionality into account. If all affected employees can concentrate on their work and any customer traffic is not disturbed as a result, it would be disproportionate to prohibit listening to music or the radio.

Employers should note that radios operated at the workplace are subject to the licence fee. The amount of the fee is staggered and is not based on the number of devices, but on the size of the company.

Legal situation: Watching football or other events at the workplace

If you want to watch football or other exciting events on television and the programme is broadcast during working hours, the law does not favour you.

To put it in a nutshell: Using an unauthorised television in the workplace can result in a warning for refusing to work and is grounds for dismissal. This is because anyone who follows events on TV cannot concentrate on their actual business. The same applies if programmes are streamed digitally on the internet.

However, there are solutions for watching football or other programmes at work:

  • Obtain authorisation from the boss or manager
  • Watch during breaks
  • Excessive break times can be made up by arrangement
  • follow via the radio (see provisions in the section above)
watch football in office

Especially when it comes to football matches or other programmes that do not take place continuously: It is advisable to seek dialogue with the employer to negotiate any special permissions for watching television at work.