If the team or customers oppose an employee, this can justify what is known as a dismissal under pressure. But what exactly is behind it?
Conflicts in the workplace happen all the time. Sometimes disputes escalate. This can even go so far that a team or customer oppose an employee and say to the company management: Either said person leaves, or alternatively we quit.
What is meant by this is that the employer should terminate the employment relationship with an employee because third parties demand this and make their further cooperation or further business relationship dependent on it. We are talking about a so-called print termination.
But does the pressure medium of pressure termination work at all? "Only in the rarest of cases is it permissible and gets through in court," says Berlin labor lawyer Peter Meyer. In general, a distinction must be made between a fake and a real print notice.
In the case of a false print termination, there is an objective reason for termination. This is either due to the behavior of the employee or employees concerned or to the person himself. Third parties now point out the reason for the termination to the employer and urge him to fire the person.
The decision whether to give notice of termination is at the discretion of the employer. Conduct-related termination is justified if the employee has culpably violated contractual obligations. "Only in serious cases could the employer give notice of termination without notice, in the case of minor violations he would first have to warn the employee," explains Meyer.
In the case of a personal termination, the reason for the termination is seen as a lack of competence. It is pronounced if the employee is unable or unsuitable to adequately carry out the assigned activity in the future.
There is no objective reason for dismissal. A genuine termination under pressure is equivalent to a termination for operational reasons. Third parties exert such pressure on the employer that he has no choice but to fire the employee in question, otherwise the company could face massive economic damage. For example, because a major customer wants to end the business relationship or there are mass layoffs within the workforce in your own company.
"First of all, he has to stand in front of his employees and, above all, protect them from unauthorized attacks," explains Tjark Menssen from DGB Rechtsschutz GmbH in Frankfurt. This presupposes that the employer has examined the facts in detail.
This includes the boss giving the employee concerned the opportunity to describe his or her version of the incident. But the employer also talks to the people who are exerting pressure. If, after considering all the arguments, he finally comes to the conclusion that the demand for the dismissal of the said employee is unreasonable, he communicates this to the other side. Now he has to try to mediate between the conflicting parties.
If the demand to lay off an employee comes from the ranks of the company, the people exerting pressure are not entitled to refuse their work - in order to force the employer to act as they wish. "In such cases, the employer can issue warnings or cut salaries," says Meyer.
However, if the third parties do not allow themselves to be dissuaded from their threats and if the threatened damage is too great for the employer, then the employer must explore the possibilities. "A conceivable option could be a transfer of the person concerned within the company," says Meyer.
If they are dismissed, those affected should definitely have their case legally examined - and, if necessary, file a suit with the help of specialist lawyers for labor law or unions.
"Mediation is often offered in labor court proceedings," says Menssen. This is an additional way to resolve conflicts.
If the allegations turn out to be unfounded or if the employer does not adequately protect his or her employees, those affected can claim damages. Tjark Menssen: "Depending on the case, both against the employer and against those who exerted pressure."
(This article was first published on Tuesday, November 29, 2022.)