- Illness Does Not Protect Employees against Dismissal
- October 21, 2015 | Author: Michael Rainer
- Law Firm: GRP Rainer LLP - Cologne Office
- According to the LAG Rheinland-Pfalz in its ruling of May 20, 2015 (Az.: 7 Sa 694/14), it is possible for a sick employee to be dismissed as long as his illness is not the reason for the dismissal.
GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London - www.grprainer.com/en conclude: The Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Rheinland-Pfalz (Regional Labour Court of Rhineland-Palatinate) ruled that employees on sick leave can be dismissed, but that the illness must not be the reason for their dismissal. It went on to say that this should not be confused with the grounds for dismissal and that the illness is only to be seen as having been used as an opportunity to dismiss the employee if it influences the employer’s decision to take advantage of the grounds for dismissal at that specific time and submit a notice of dismissal.
In the present case, a driver had complained about the condition of his bus on February 26, 2014 and subsequently stopped working, leaving the vehicle together with the key and papers with the gatekeeper. On the same day, he had himself signed off from work by a doctor. The employer then terminated the employment relationship a day later without notice as of February 26, 2014. The certificate of incapacity reached the employer no later than the postmark date of March 10.
The dismissed driver then sued for the continuation of the employment relationship until March 30 as well as for payment of the corresponding wages for March. The labour court at first instance ruled that the employment relationship had not persisted, but that the plaintiff was nonetheless entitled to be paid the wages for the month of March because the employer had used the sick leave as an opportunity to dismiss the employee.
However, the LAG took a different view, stating that the reason for the dismissal was not the illness but rather the employee’s unauthorised cessation of work. The Court said that the employer might not yet have been aware on the date of dismissal that the employee had been signed off from work on the same day. Consequently, the latter was not entitled to continued payment of wages.
Dismissal is only one of many contentious points in employment law. Lawyers who are competent in the field of employment law can assist you in dealing with matters such as drafting agreements, written warnings and rescission in addition to other relevant issues.