Protection Against Dismissal Act: A brief introduction to German law

Protection Against Dismissal Act

Navigating employment law can be complex, particularly when it comes to the rules surrounding the termination of an employment contract. In Germany, employees are provided with significant safeguards through the Protection Against Dismissal Act (Kündigungsschutzgesetz), a key statute that regulates the conditions under which an employee may be legally dismissed. This Act is central to maintaining fair labor relations in Germany, establishing a legal framework that ensures dismissals are not made arbitrarily, but are instead justified and follow due process. It is a protective mechanism that strikes a balance between the rights of employees to job security and the operational needs of employers. Understanding the intricacies of this legislation is vital for both parties in the employment relationship, as it dictates the responsibilities of employers and the protections afforded to employees in the case of termination.

Calculate severance pay now free of charge
  • Calculate potential severance payment amount
  • Strategy for negotiating a fair severance payment
  • Find suitable lawyers for labour law

Check severance pay

The termination of employment contracts in Germany is predominantly governed by the Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch – BGB) and the Protection against Unfair Dismissals Act (Kündigungsschutzgesetz – KSchG). The KSchG especially imposes strict regulations on the conditions under which an employee can be dismissed, providing a significant shield against unfair termination.

Additionally, specialized statutes offer enhanced protection for certain categories of employees. These include individuals with disabilities, pregnant employees or those on maternity leave, and members of the works council. The relevant laws providing this extra layer of safeguard are the Maternity Protection Law (“Mutterschutzgesetz”), the Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act (“Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz”), and the ninth book of the Social Security Code (“Sozialgesetzbuch IX”).

It’s essential for both employers and employees to understand these legal protections, as they clarify the rights and procedures involved in the event of an employment termination.

Under the Kündigungsschutzgesetz (Protection Against Dismissal Act), it’s crucial to determine if a termination is socially justified. To be considered as such, there must be a legitimate operational, personal, or behavioral reason behind the employment ending. Let’s delve into the scenarios that could warrant such dismissals and the Act’s application.

Safeguards Against Invalid Terminations: The aim of this Act is to shield employees from unjust terminations. Upon receiving a termination notice, consider the following steps:

  • Stay Collected: Know that employees enjoy robust protections. The multifaceted criteria governing the legitimacy of dismissals open opportunities to spot legal flaws and possibly postpone the termination.
  • Gather Proof: Documentation such as emails and correspondence from your employer can be pivotal when making your case. Understand the reasoning behind your dismissal.
  • Reach Out to Our Employment Law Advisors: With specialized employment lawyers behind you, your case stands a better chance. Successful outcomes may take the form of compensation.

The fundamental principle safeguarding against unjust termination under the Kündigungsschutzgesetz is the “social justification” for the dismissal. There must be substantial grounds, and the termination must align with the severity of the alleged offense. Employers lacking a formal warning system or contravening existing frameworks risk legal challenges to their dismissals. Seeking legal advice on establishing such a system is advisable.

Calculate severance pay now free of charge
  • Calculate potential severance payment amount
  • Strategy for negotiating a fair severance payment
  • Find suitable lawyers for labour law

Check severance pay

Grounds for dismissal are categorized into personal, behavioral, and operational reasons.

Personal bases for dismissal may include:

  • Repeated short-term illnesses or prolonged health issues
  • Criminal offense or incarceration
  • Insufficient work performance
  • Inadequacy for the position
  • Substance addiction
  • Absence of a necessary work permit

Behavioral grounds for termination could encompass:

  • Refusal to carry out work
  • Harassment or bullying
  • Alcohol use during work
  • Disruption of workplace harmony
  • Complaints by colleagues
  • Falsifying work hours
  • Unauthorized leave
  • Criminal actions
  • Consistent underperformance.

Operational reasons for dismissal might involve: Job elimination without alternative employment, prioritizing the retention of other employees.

Limits of the Dismissal Protection Act

The Dismissal Protection Act doesn’t shield every employee uniformly. There are instances where its provisions don’t come into effect.

Specifically, in small enterprises with fewer than 10 employees, the safeguards provided by the Act are diminished. For an employee contesting an unfair dismissal, being within the ambit of the Dismissal Protection Act (KSchG) can be beneficial. Absent of this coverage, a court’s scope is limited to checking for capricious termination. This absence doesn’t doom an employee’s claim, but it certainly weakens their position.

Despite scenarios where the Dismissal Protection Act might not provide a safety net, seeking legal counsel to scrutinize the dismissal can prove beneficial. A legal expert can dissect and scrutinize the severance of employment with meticulous care and depth of knowledge.

An employee falls under the protections of the Dismissal Protection Act if they have been employed in a company for at least 6 months continuously (§ 1, para. 1 KSchG) and the company staffs more than 10 employees (§ 23, (1) KSchG). Therefore, the probationary period in Germany — typically the first six months on the job — can be pivotal for long-term job security and legal standing.

Moreover, the law extends additional protections for expectant mothers, individuals with severe disabilities, and members of the works council.

free consultation lawyer germany
Free initial consultation with a specialist lawyer
  • Free initial consultation with a lawyer
  • Quick callback after 1 to 2 hours
  • Strategy for negotiating the severance pay

Free initial consultation

All information on our website is of an editorial nature and expressly does not constitute legal advice. Naturally, we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and links contained on this website. Nevertheless, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information. It is in no way a substitute for legal advice from a lawyer.