08. Mar 18

LAG Rheinland-Pfalz: Employee needs to have good cause for termination with immediate effect

For termination of an employment relationship with immediate effect to be effective, there needs to be good cause. This is true whether notice of dismissal is issued by the employer or the employee.

Exceptional notice terminating an employment relationship with immediate effect is only possible if there is good cause. We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that the grounds need to be of such significance that it would not be reasonable to expect the contractual partner to continue the employment relationship even until the end of the notice period. This principle applies to both contractual parties, i.e. both the employer as well as the employee.

The fact that an employer does not have to accept an employee’s notice of termination with immediate effect is demonstrated by a ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Rheinland-Pfalz [Regional Labour Court of Rhineland-Palatinate] from April 19, 2017 (Az.: 4 Sa 307/16). In the instant case, a trainee had given notice of termination with immediate effect and wished to continue his training at another establishment. His request prior to this to have his training contract rescinded had been rejected by the employer.

The trainee justified the notice of termination with immediate effect by arguing that he had repeatedly received negative comments from his tutor in relation to his work and that he had been bullied. It was claimed that comments such as “stell Dich nicht dümmer als Du bist” (don’t act more stupid than you are) were made. The employer was said to have been informed of this. Neither the respective labour court nor the LAG Rheinland-Pfalz considered this as constituting good cause justifying termination with immediate effect.

The LAG held that blanked statements are not enough; notice of termination with immediate effect must be made in writing and specify the grounds for termination. It went on to say that the grounds need to be precise and not expressed generally or as slogans. The Court ruled that while statements such as “stell Dich nicht dümmer als Du bist” are neither desirable nor beneficial, they do not amount to insults. As such, they ought to have been tolerated by the trainee and there was thus a lack of good cause.

Moreover, the employee should have issued a formal written warning prior to notice of dismissal so that the employer had the opportunity to put a stop to these disruptions to the employment relationship.

Termination of an employment relationship is a common source of contention. Lawyers who are experienced in the field of employment law can advise on all of the relevant legal aspects.

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