Termination and Resignation (Severance Packages)
Effectiveness of a termination
First of all, the effective termination of an employment contract has to comply with the notice periods stipulated in the contract, in applicable collective agreements or in statutory law. Besides, the termination of an employment contract has to be in writing and the termination notice should be signed by a person with appropriate authorization under German Law (alternatively an original PoA has to be enclosed). In addition, the receipt of the notice by the employee should be provable at court. Furthermore, the works council has to be consulted in accordance with the Works Constitution Act (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz – BetrVG). It is remarkable how many termination letters in practice do not comply with these relatively simple formal specifications and, hence, are invalid under German Employment Law.
Employment Protection Act (Kündigungsschutzgesetz – KSchG)
In addition, there are some further restrictions imposed by German employee protection legislation: If more than 10 full-time employees are employed in a business unit and the employment has lasted for more than 6 months, a termination has to be socially justified. This means, there has to be a valid cause for the termination under German Employment Law, e.g. in relation to the employee’s conduct, the employee’s personal condition or due to operational reasons. In case there are concerns regarding the effectiveness of a termination, the employee may bring an unfair dismissal claim before the Employment Court (Labour Court, Labor Tribunal) within 3 weeks after receipt of the termination notice. Due to the relatively low costs of proceeding in such a way, this happens quite often in Germany. A good percentage of the Employment Court proceedings end with an amicable settlement. Please note that for employees that are considered to be top level executives under German Employment Law (“leitende Angestellte”) special rules apply in the event of a termination of their employment. All general rules also apply to expats in Germany.
Severance pay – severance packages
Although reinstatement has to be the formal objective of the dismissal claim under German Employment Law, in fact, a majority of the employees want to obtain a severance pay as lucrative as possible. This is even truer for top level executives and managerial staff and is clear to all participants of proceedings (including the Employment Court, Labour Court, Labor Tribunal). Therefore, it is often crucial for the amount that can be realized in a settlement if there are other factors (besides the subject of the unfair dismissal claim) that either strengthen or weaken the negotiation position of the employee. A good Employment Lawyer in Germany should take into account all relevant other interests of the parties involved to achieve a successful outcome for his client. In particular, he should not want to make a settlement at any cost, but should rather be determined to fight for a favorable court decision – if necessary through the second instance.
Employment Lawyer in Germany
You can trustfully leave your Employment Law affaires to our Lawyers. Attorney at Law Dr. Christian Zeller will vigilantly and tenaciously enforce your Employment claims or defend you and your business against claims brought before a German Employment Court (Labour Court, Labor Tribunal). Attorney Dr. Zeller will represent your interests in the courtroom before all German Employment Courts, all Higher Labor Courts and the Federal German Labour Court.
ZELLER & SEYFERT is accessible for you or your business 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Please contact us by phone (+49 (0) 69-58 80 972-40), by email (email@example.com) or just submit our contact form. Through our 24/7-Access on the left side, you may also book online a free initial appointment with an Employment Lawyer of our firm. Further, you may also request a call back within 24 hours or start a live chat with us. We look forward to hearing from you.
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