Dismissal of older employees: termination protection & notice period

  • Older employees are only non-terminable in a few cases.
  • Nevertheless, older employees are particularly protected against dismissals.
  • Longer notice periods are generally applicable for older employees.

When are older employees not terminable?

Some collective agreements may exceptionally stipulate that employees may not be dismissed after a certain age. In addition to the employee's age, the protection is usually linked to a certain level of seniority. The specifics depend on the respective collective agreement.

How are older employees protected against dismissals?

Although there is no special protection against dismissal for older employees, they do enjoy general protection against dismissal. Therefore, employers are not permitted to terminate older employees because of their age, but only for three socially justified reasons. In addition, older employees are protected against dismissal by higher requirements than other employees.

Higher requirements for dismissal of older employees

When terminating the employment of employees who are under protection against dismissal, employers must always take into account the employee's interest in continued employment. As it is often more difficult for older employees to find a new job, the reasons for a lawful dismissal must be all the more important. Whether a dismissal is lawful therefore always depends on the individual case.

Special protection against redundancies

If jobs are cut for operational reasons, the employees to be dismissed must be selected among all comparable employees. Social aspects such as age and seniority must be taken into account in the selection process. Therefore, younger employees must generally be selected in the event of redundancies for operational reasons.

» Employers often neglect the higher protection of older employees. You should therefore always have your termination reviewed.

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

What notice periods apply to older employees?

Older employees usually have a higher seniority and therefore longer notice periods apply. In principle, an employment relationship can be terminated with a notice period of 4 weeks to the 15th or the end of the calendar month. So if the employer gives notice on 16.01., the notice will take effect at the end of February at the earliest. If the employee has been employed by the employer for several years, the notice period is extended to up to 7 months.

» Find out your notice period in our article on notice periods.

How can you defend yourself against a termination?

Many terminations of older employees 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.