• Liability for Intentional Wrongdoing Cannot Be Excluded By an Acceleration Clause - Labour Law
  • October 15, 2013
  • Law Firm: GRP Rainer LLP - Office
  • Legal provisions cannot be circumvented by acceleration clauses in employment contracts.

    GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Dusseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and London www.grprainer.com/en conclude: The Federal Labour Court (BAG) ruled in its judgment (Az.: 8 AZR 280/12) that an acceleration clause incorporated by the parties into the employment contract only encompasses those cases which are not already regulated by law. Liability for intentional wrongdoing is therefore not covered by a clause of this kind.

    The parties had agreed in an employment contract that claims from and in connection with the employment agreement could only be enforced in writing and within three months from their maturity. If enforcement does not take place within the agreed timeframe, the claims should thus lapse.

    Due to long-term illness and inability to work on the part of the claimant, both parties amicably ended the employment relationship. The claimant subsequently informed its former employer that it had pressed charges on account of harassment and slander. Additionally, the claimant lodged a complaint for solatium before the Labour Court three months following termination of the employment relationship.

    The courts of lower instance rejected the claim. However, the BAG referred the claim back to the Regional Court for a new trial to be held. The Court now had to clarify the issue of whether the claim asserted for solatium was justified by intentional conduct on the part of the employer and its vicarious agents. In the view of the BAG, the clear legal provisions pertaining to liability for intentional wrongdoing and prescription could not be substituted by rules within an employment contract. There were also no specific clues indicating a corresponding intention on the part of the parties. Moreover, such a clause is ineffective in any case.

    In many labour law cases, legal questions arise for all parties involved. In conjunction with recruitment processes, employment contracts and dismissals, problems can emerge. With the help of a lawyer versed in labour law, the legal difficulties can be circumvented. Where there are issues regarding employment contracts, written warnings and dismissals, he can highlight the legal possibilities.

    In this context, it is particularly important to keep an eye on the deadlines, since these are often very short in labour law. After deadlines have expired, claims are no longer enforceable. A lawyer can assist in asserting claims within the designated timeframe.