11. Nov 16

Arbeitsgericht Düsseldorf: Dismissal without notice effective following car chase

Dismissal on grounds of conduct is also a possibility in the event that an employee behaves in a way outside of the workplace that is unacceptable to his employer.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: Dismissal on grounds of conduct under employment law generally presupposes a serious breach on the part of the employee of his duties as laid out in the employment contract. That being said, a ruling of the Arbeitsgericht Düsseldorf [Labour Court of Düsseldorf] from July 12, 2016 demonstrates that an employee’s conduct in his free time outside of the workplace can justify dismissal on grounds of conduct as well (Az.: 15 Ca 1769/16).

The case concerned a car dealership that had dismissed one of its salesmen with immediate effect for having taken part in an allegedly illegal race while in a drunken state and not in possession of a valid driver’s license. He was then caught by the police in the process. The salesman was said to have pursued a Lamborghini on a racing quadbike, whereby the former belonged to him but was being driven by another person. Both parties were reported to have engaged in a race through Düsseldorf’s city center and driven through several red lights while driving at excessive speeds. It was not the first time that the salesman had attracted attention. He had already been in an accident in 2014 in which he wrote off a vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol. He subsequently had to hand in his driver’s license and received a formal written warning from his employer. In light of this most recent incident, the dealership took the view that it was no longer reasonable for it to continue to employ the salesman and gave him notice of dismissal.

Despite the salesman’s explanation that his Lamborghini had apparently been stolen and he had in a state of shock used his quadbike to pursue the alleged thief, his action against unfair dismissal ultimately came to nothing. The Arbeitsgericht Düsseldorf held that the notice of dismissal with immediate effect had been effective and that the car chase in a drunken state could not be justified. The Court went on to say that the salesman had consequently severely undermined the relationship of trust with his employer and put the car dealership’s reputation at risk, with the result that any ongoing collaboration could no longer be reasonably expected; the fact that the relevant conduct occurred outside of the employee’s work did not change this.

Lawyers who are experienced in the field of employment law can advise employers on all matters concerning dismissal as well as other legal issues.

For more informations:


Do you have any questions?
Make an appointment at one of our locations in Cologne, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich or Stuttgart! For International inquiries, please contact us at our offices in London or Singapore!