Get fast help from lawyers specialised in employment law. We will help you when your employment is threatened.

You should contact us if you can foresee that you are about to be handed your notice, or if your employer has already terminated your employment. Each and every notice of termination and severance agreement should be seen by a lawyer specialised in employment law. Speaking to an expert should give you a good overview of your legal position and how you can respond. The lawyer can shed light on what chances of success you have if you raise proceedings against unfair dismissal or what other possibilities are open to you.

What should I do if my job is threatened?

Employers often try to avoid a termination that would be legally difficult or even impossible by offering a severance agreement or giving friendly advice to look around the job market for a new challenge.


Practical tip if you are offered a severance agreement

Do not inform your legal expense insurer that your employer has offered you a severance agreement. Legal expense insurance does not cover the costs involved in negotiating a severance agreement, but it does have to cover the cost of legal consultation if you are threatened by dismissal. The offer of a severance agreement actually almost always comes with a veiled threat of termination – often hidden, but sometimes quite openly communicated. Legal expense insurer call centre employees are mostly well-trained to fend off such cases being claimed.

So let us take care of notifying your insurance company of the claim. We are not fooled by their cunning questions.

What should I do once the employer has handed me my notice?

Once the termination has been articulated, you have 3 weeks time from receipt of the notice of termination to file a suit against the dismissal.

Once the three weeks have lapsed, the termination becomes legally effective, irrespective of whether the termination is correct or was justified. In such a case, reaching a settlement for compensation is no longer an option.

However, please do not be surprised that filing a suit against dismissal always aims for continuing employment. German employment law does not provide for filing a suit for compensation, it only allows for a suit to prove that the termination is invalid. Severance payments are then negotiated in the process.

A numerical example:

In Germany, approximately one million people per year lose their job. It is interesting to see that on the one hand approximately 70% of the terminations are not challenged, whereby approximately 70% of the proceedings against unfair dismissal at the labour courts end in a severance payment.

So, in most cases, it is also financially well worth taking advice from a lawyer specialised in employment law. Even if you don’t have legal expense insurance.

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Termination explained

Under employment law a termination is a unilateral declaration that is directed at ending an employment. The unilateral nature of a termination means that the contracting partner does not have to consent for the termination to be effective, in other words, the contracting partner does not have to agree.

Ordinary termination

Ordinary termination is the normal way to terminate employment. In this case, the party giving notice must adhere to the legal or contractual period of notice or the period of notice as determined in the collective labour agreements. Provided the period of notice is adhered to, ordinary termination can be effected without a specific reason. Under German employment law, employees are generally free to resign, i.e. they can always hand in their notice subject to the relevant stipulations. Employers, in contrast, may be obliged to observe general or special provisions concerning protection against dismissal when giving notice. In such cases the employer may not simply give ordinary notice of termination.

Extraordinary termination

Another type of termination is extraordinary termination where the prescribed notice periods are not adhered to. However, extraordinary termination is conditional on certain requirements. In principle, a serious cause is needed to justify extraordinary termination (Section 626 (1) German Civil Code (BGB)). Such a cause must be based on serious grounds that render it unreasonable for the terminating party to adhere to the relevant notice periods.

Extraordinary termination may be declared by either the employer or the employee.

Termination for operational reasons

The third termination type is termination for operational reasons. There must be business-related reasons that justify the termination and no other possible job for the employee within the company. Furthermore, the employer is required to duly find a balance between the opposing interests and to make the selection based on social criteria.

Under Section 623 German Civil Code, notice of termination must be given in writing.