14. Oct 16

Lies in CV – Challenge to and termination of employment contract without notice

Anyone who includes false statements in their application documents risks having their employment contract terminated with immediate effect.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: As tempting as a job offer may be, it does not justify untrue statements in application documents, e.g. based on fraudulent references or fictitious academic titles. Those who nevertheless opt to spruce up their CV in order to get the job are taking a gamble. According to employment law, the employer is entitled to challenge the employment contract in these cases on account of fraudulent misrepresentation. Even if the employee has since worked at the company for many years, dismissal without notice remains a possibility.

Having said that, lies concerning relevant aspects of one’s professional competence and experience can give rise to more than just dismissal with immediate effect. Depending on the circumstances, it is possible for the employer to assert claims for damages, i.e. the employer can demand repayment of all or at least part of the remuneration, because in determining an employee’s salary said person’s professional competence plays a decisive role. If, for instance, the employee untruthfully claimed to have completed a course of study, the remuneration was accordingly higher than would have been the case in the absence of an academic degree.

However, the employer must be able to demonstrate that the false statements were the reason the applicant was hired. It also needs to adduce evidence regarding the damage or loss incurred. If the employer is unable to do this, dismissal is still a conceivable option due to the fact that the relationship of trust has been irreparably damaged by the false statements.

Dismissals are a frequent cause of legal disputes relating to employment law. It might, however, prove difficult for the employer to effectively issue notice of extraordinary or ordinary termination for various reasons. Lawyers who are versed in the field of employment law can offer expert advice on all issues pertaining to both challenging and termination of an employment contract.

Notice of extraordinary dismissal can only be issued for good cause. If the matter becomes the subject of litigation, the labour courts have to weigh up the employer’s interest in immediately terminating the employment contract and the employee’s interest in its continuation. Extraordinary dismissal will only be effective if the employer’s interests are deemed to outweigh those of the employee, which is why it is all the more important for employers to carefully prepare notices of extraordinary dismissal.

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