19. Sep 16

Extraordinary dismissal under employment law

Employment law provides for the possibility of extraordinary dismissal without prior notice. However, this can only be effective if there is good cause justifying this course of action.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: Employment law makes a distinction between ordinary and exceptional notice of termination of an employment relationship. In contrast to ordinary notice, exceptional notice of dismissal does not require the employer to observe any notice periods. Having said that, extraordinary dismissal does require there to be good cause. In most cases, this relates to the conduct of the employee in question.

A substantial breach of duty by an employee may constitute good cause for extraordinary dismissal. One example of such a breach duty could be refusal to perform one’s work as laid out in the employment contract. The conduct of an employee in relation to his colleagues, e.g. if this amounts to violent altercations or insults, can constitute good cause as well. Generally speaking, it is also possible to issue exceptional notice of dismissal if the employee steals from his employer or colleagues. It is equally impermissible for the employee to threaten to take sick leave. While there is no precise definition for good cause, it can be summed up by saying that the cause justifying extraordinary dismissal needs to be sufficiently serious such that it would no longer be reasonable to expect the employer to continue the employment relationship or wait for the ordinary notice period for dismissal to come to an end.

Before issuing exceptional notice of termination, the employer ought to assess whether there are other more lenient measures that can be taken to make the employee aware of his breach of duty and still continue the employment relationship. One such measure could be, for instance, a formal written warning or even ordinary notice of dismissal. The employer has to give notice of extraordinary dismissal within a period of two weeks from becoming aware of the incident or cause justifying dismissal.

That being said, the effectiveness of extraordinary dismissal comes down to its merits in each individual case. The labour courts must weigh up the employer’s interest in terminating the employment relationship with immediate effect and the employee’s interest in its continuation. It is only in cases where the employer’s interest outweighs that of the employee in which extraordinary dismissal is effective. It is therefore all the more important for an employer considering issuing exceptional notice of dismissal to carefully prepare this. Lawyers who are experienced in the field of employment law can advise employers on all matters pertaining to dismissal and termination as well as in relation to other legal issues.

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