Behavior after Hours not always Private

Can your behavior in your absolutely private spheres be subject to immediate cancellation of your labor contract? LAG Schleswig-Holstein gave an answer to this question on January 6, 2009 (re 5 Sa 313/08).


A divorced couple having two joint minor children works in the same plant. One fine Saturday evening, the mother went to the Christmas party of her shift, while the children remained home alone. The father himself was working the late shift and came home around 10 p.m. He got upset that his divorced wife left the children alone at home - especially the sick 3 year-old. So he waylaid his former wife with a kitchen knife and pricked her several times. She received injuries around the shoulders and spine. She was put on sick leave, unable to work. She further refused to collaborate with the father of her children in fear that she would be attacked again. This fact made the employer fire the father without prior notice.

The father sought legal recourse and lost all appeals. The termination was legal and binding because this behavior, though in his private surroundings inflicted his labor relationship. Normally, what you do in your private life will never give your boss a chance to fire you - unless this behavior negatively disturbs the work environment. One the boss had to continue to pay her the salary due to her inability to work. Further the ex-wife had understandable fear against further attacks that would hinder her from effectively working when her ex was in the company. Therefore, the labor relationship is seriously infringed upon and an immediate termination of the contract justified.


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