Immediate Termination Threats Against Life and Limb? Not Without Proof

Some employees surely deserve to be fired. Especially when they threaten to batter their employer. Does it just suffice that the employer alleges that the employee threatened him? The LAG Düsseldorf decided on August 21, 2008 on this issue (re 5 Sa 240/08).


This is the story of Moe having a rampaging employee that he wanted to get rid of. Moe first fired Larry on the grounds of operational reasons. Larry sued Moe and won the case. Moe reacted with an extraordinary notice of termination because Larry allegedly verbally and physically threatened other colleagues. Larry was blamed to have disturbed the peace in the firm with such utterances as "I'm gonna blow everything up!" or "When you fire me, I'll kill everyone." For that he was given notice extraordinarily. Following Moe's words, the other employees threatened to lay down their work when Larry remains.

What Moe did not consider was that Larry would deny the allegations. Anyhow, the court listened to several witnesses but was not fully convinced of these alleged threats. Generally, Moes allegations would suffice as grounds for an extraordinary termination but he failed to collect sufficient proof of the occurences.

Also a "termination due to pressure" was not justified. Employers usually have the right to give notice to an employee when he puts pressure on his colleagues or employees. However, it does not suffice that the other employees threaten to stop working. This is not a serious threat. Besides, the employer is obligated to place himself between rivals in order to settle a dispute.


When an employee is to be fired, it makes no sense just to shoot from the hip because it should be diligently prepared. Keep in mind; employees in German enjoy a high standard of protection in their employment. When you have any doubts whatsoever when firing an employee do contact the lawyer you trust for an initial consultation to find out if the termination is valid or not. The costs for the initial consultation are minuscule compared to losing a case in court!


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