Employment issues and labour disputes concerning Expats in Germany – Unjust Dismissals

von Matthias Steinchen


Recently many clients asked us for legal advice regarding unfair terminations and unjust dismissals and the according issues with their employer. In our experience, fair often these disputes are accompanied by the employers’ misconception that Expats or even EU-citizens won’t get a lawyer involved as they should be used to a “hire and fire”-culture anyway.

As a matter of fact, Non-German residents are protected by the same fair rights and need to be treated on an equal basis as a German employee, including in startup companies. Therefore many state acts, collective agreements and the whole case law set up by the jurisdiction do apply on foreigners as well.

With this article we want to give you a short introduction into basic principles of German labour law regarding the – in our experience – trick of German employers how to fire people by circumventing legal protection measurements and provide you with resources to handle them.

Unfair Dismissals

Unfortunately, many employers try to get rid of their employees by first making them feel insecure and then fire them. Gladly, every termination can be legally verified. It is our everyday practice to save our clients their job, or at least gain a profitable settlement in court.

Cancellations may be differentiated into due terminations with an upfront notice and dismissals for exceptional reasons [from one day to the other].

To become effective, any dismissal must meet at least these basic formal requirements:

issued in written form [i.e. not as an email], signed duly and needs to be actually received by the employee.

Due terminations need to obtain a certain cancellation period. If the employer does not receive the cancellation during this defined period, the employment will go on until the cancellation becomes effective at the next possibility to terminate the contract ...

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