The German Federal Labour Court recently addressed the issue whether stalking colleagues can justify a dismissal without notice.
In the case under review, a colleague had already complained about the plaintiff in 2007. Thereupon the employer ordered the plaintiff not to contact her, neither in a business nor private capacity, and to respect the colleague's corresponding wish. In 2009 another colleague complained, alleging that the plaintiff was bothering her in an unbearable manner (i. a. by calls and visits to her office, numerous emails and text messages). After having heard both sides, the employer terminated the plaintiff's employment without notice,
The Court held that, in general, the violation of a colleague's expressed wish to refrain from private approaches and the violation of her private sphere can justify a dismissal without notice. However, in some cases - depending on the special circumstances - it might be necessary to issue a previous warning.
The lesson? To ensure enforceability employers would be well advised to issue a warning prior to a dismissal without notice for reasons of stalking, since the Courts could find that it was not dispensable in the given case.
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