Reasons for termination - when a termination is (not) legal

  • Employees who are under the general protection against dismissal may not be dismissed without cause.
  • Dismissals are only permitted for specific personal, behavioural and operational reasons.
  • Find out under what conditions dismissals by the employer are justified.
  • We also explain how you can defend yourself against unjustified dismissals.

What reasons for terminations are permissible?

In principle, only socially justified terminations are lawful if employees are under protection against dismissal (§ 1 KSchG). A dismissal is socially justified if the reasons lie in the employee's person or behaviour or if there are urgent operational requirements.

The following is an overview of the individual grounds for termination and the associated conditions:

A permissible reason alone does not justify a termination. In addition, further employment must be unreasonable for the employer. This is the case if the employer's interest in terminating the employment relationship outweighs the employee's interest in continuing the employment relationship. This balancing of interests always depends on the circumstances of the individual case.

Wrongfully terminated?
Find out if you have been terminated wrongfully & subject your termination to our free and non-binding initial check.

What other requirements must be met for terminations?

In addition to sufficient justification for redundancies, employers must comply with further requirements for lawful terminations. These include in particular

  1. termination notices must comply with formal standards: appropriate notice period, sufficient justification, and written form,

  2. if applicable, compliance with the special protection against dismissal for certain groups of employees: people in voluntary military service, pregnant women up to 4 months after giving birth, employees on parental leave, parents on part-time work within the first 14 months of the child's life, severely disabled persons, employees on nursing leave or temporarily unable to work due to an acute nursing situation, and works council members,

  3. if applicable, consultation of the works council.

How can you defend yourself against a termination?

Many terminations do not comply with the requirements and are therefore unlawful. If you believe your termination is unlawful, you can challenge it to either receive severance pay or continue employment. To challenge your dismissal, you must file an action for protection against dismissal with the labour court within 3 weeks of receiving the notice. If you fail to do so, even a dismissal that is not justified will take effect.

Chance of defending against your dismissal?
Find out your chances of defending against your dismissal & subject your termination to our free and non-binding initial check.