Attorney at law, Ms. Asma Hussain-Hämäläinen, LL.M. succesful in a case of termination during probation period (Berlin labor court)

In a legally exciting case (so-called probationary period termination) at the Berlin Labor Court, Ref.: 17 Ca 12607 / 23, I recently achieved a very good result for my client. She had a senior position in a corporation and was fired during the so-called probationary period (i.e. in the first six months of the employment relationship). Normally there is little that can be done about terminations during probationary periods because the Dismissal Protection Act (Kündigungsschutzgesetz) only comes into effect after six months of the employment relationship having existed (assuming the other requirements are also met).

But here we were lucky in misfortune: the employer had announced the termination via messenger service. Specifically, the employer’s managing director deposited the letter of termination with his scanned signature at this Messenger Service during my client’s probationary period and sent a link to my client in order for her to download the letter of termination. She did so. The employer therefore assumed that the termination was effective. That wasn’t true!

My client only instructed me after the mandatory three-week filing period had expired. Normally there is nothing more that can be done because the labor courts rigorously reject dismissal protection claims after three weeks have passed since the letter of termination was received. The three-week filing deadline must therefore be strictly observed!

We therefore had two problems: termination during the so called probationary period and the deadline for filing a lawsuit had already expired. And yet I negotiated a sensationally good settlement for my client (long paid leave of absence with a severance payment option). Why?

The employer had made several mistakes. If the letter of termination is deposited on a messenger service, the letter of termination is from the legal point of view not yet received, even if the employee downloads it there. And secondly, because the letter of termination only contained a scanned signature, the written form of Section 623 of the German Civil Code (BGB) is not complied with. Terminations of employment relationships must be in writing!

It turned out even nicer. After the employer believed that he had effectively terminated the unlimited employment relationship via messenger service, he offered my client a temporary position and instead of properly signing the contract, the managing director scanned his signature again. Another mistake!

Only after the employer hired a specialist lawyer, he managed to issue a termination that was at least formally valid. But now the probationary period had long since expired. That’s why the employer had to offer a great severance package in order to get the consent of my client to settle.

Even before the conciliation hearing at the labor court, he offered a settlement that was very advantageous for my client, which she accepted. A great success for her and our law firm!

Have you received a notice of termination? Give us a call! Ms. Attorney Hussain-Hämäläinen, LL.M. advises you quickly, competently and reliably!