25. Feb 16

LAG Berlin-Brandenburg: Dismissal without notice for good cause

According to a ruling of the LAG Berlin-Brandenburg (Regional Labour Court of Berlin-Brandenburg), an employer can terminate an employment contract without notice if it has good cause to do so (Az.: 17 Sa 810/15).

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: Employment law stipulates that termination of an employment contract without notice is possible if the employee is accused of having grossly violated his duties and it would no longer be reasonable to expect the employer to have to continue employing the worker until the next termination date under the ordinary rules for dismissal. The matter of when a breach of duty is sufficiently serious such that continuing the employment relationship becomes unreasonable is often contentious. It might have been enough for the employer to have issued a formal written warning or notice of ordinary termination (i.e. termination with notice).

The Landesarbeitsgericht Berlin-Brandenburg found itself having to grapple with this issue. In the case in question, an employee of a security firm was tasked with supervising the exit to the production area of a mint. As a security guard, he was responsible for screening people at a turnstile equipped with a random generator. If the turnstile became locked by the random generator, the workers were then searched by the security staff. Without ensuring that someone could stand in for him, the security guard switched off the random generator and left his post for a long period of time in order to meet with another employee. The latter gave him the remains of a plastic pipe, which he then brought into his car without the relevant accompanying note. Within a few days, it was established that gold with a value of around 74,000 euros had disappeared from the mint. The security guard was subsequently dismissed with immediate effect by his employer.

While the security guard’s action for wrongful dismissal was successful before the Arbeitsgericht Berlin (Labour Court of Berlin), the LAG Berlin-Brandenburg dismissed the claim and deemed the dismissal without notice to be valid. By leaving his post without finding a replacement and taking the plastic pipe without authorization, the security guard was said to have seriously breached his duties. The Court went on to say that this meant it was no longer reasonable to expect the employer to continue employing him as a security worker.

Effectively terminating an employment contract can potentially prove to be difficult. Lawyers who are competent in the field of employment law can advise on preparing employment contracts, termination notices, severance payments as well as other matters pertaining to employment law.

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