Dismissal due to illness: 3 prerequisites for effectiveness

Frequent or long periods of illness of an employee can place a considerable burden on the company. Dismissal due to illness is allowed - but only if three conditions are met and the employer does not make any mistakes.

In a nutshell

  • Illness does not protect employees from dismissal - it can even be the reason.
  • However, termination due to illness is only allowed if three legal requirements are met.
  • In many cases, affected employees have a good chance of challenging the termination in court.

Is dismissal due to illness possible?

Yes, dismissal due to illness is possible, but subject to strict legal requirements (see next chapter). A company may only terminate an employment relationship if certain conditions are met. This also applies during sick leave.

Legal background: The main contractual obligation of an employee is to be productive in the interests of the company. In return, you receive a salary. Even if an employee cannot usually be held responsible for his/her inability to work, frequent or long periods of illness can place a considerable burden on a company.

In practice, dismissals due to illness are rare. Because the legal hurdles are particularly high, employees have a good chance of defending themselves by taking legal action against dismissal and obtaining reinstatement or severance pay.

Important: Anyone who is dismissed has only three weeks to file a lawsuit. Once the deadline has expired, the termination is effective in any case and can no longer be challenged.

Have you been dismissed due to illness?
Use our free termination check to determine whether your dismissal is justified and whether you have a claim for compensation or reinstatement.

3 conditions for a lawful termination due to illness

Employees who have been employed for more than six months in a company with more than 10 employees are automatically subject to statutory protection against dismissal. In this case, all three of the following points must be met for the termination to be rightful. Otherwise, the termination is contestable.

1. Significant impairment of the employer's interests

The employee's illness must significantly impair the company's operational or economic interests. This is the case if e.g. the operational process is disrupted by the employee's illness, which results in a sales decrease or additional personnel costs.

2. Negative health prognosis

At the time of termination, it must be assumed that there will be no improvement and that the employee will continue to be ill for a long time or frequently in the future.

3. Reasonableness

The company must prove that its interest (termination of the ill employee) outweighs the employee's interest (continued employment) and that continued employment is unreasonable.

What rules apply in small businesses and during probation?

The probation period and small businesses with fewer than 10 employees are special cases of labor law: Namely, in both cases there is no legal protection against dismissal for employees.

In both cases a dismissal is possible at any time without naming reasons. That is why employers do not have to take into account the requirements for an effective termination due to illness.

Anyone who is dismissed due to illness is fully entitled to unemployment benefits. Only employees who give notice themselves or sign a termination agreement may receive a block of up to 12 weeks. In this case, the employment agency does not transfer the benefit until the blocking period has expired.

The block may be waived in individual cases if the employee had serious reasons for the termination. It is advisable to discuss possible consequences directly with the employment agency in advance.

Terminated? We can help you!

  1. Fill in the online questionnaire and receive the result directly by e-mail.
  1. We review your case and enforce your claim for severance pay.
  1. You will receive your severance pay. CONNY pays all legal fees and court costs.

Have you been dismissed due to illness?

Use our free termination check to determine whether your dismissal is justified and whether you have a claim for compensation or reinstatement.