The Higher Labor Court of Hamm decided in its judgment of 10
October 2012 that a trainee was effectively dismissed without
notice for good cause since he called his instructor a "slave
driver and exploiter".
The plaintiff, aged 26 years at the receipt of the notice of
dismissal, stated on his Facebook profile under the heading
"Employer": "slave driver & exploiter",
"Bochum serf", "doing stupid bullshit for the
minimum wage -20%". After the instructor of the plaintiff had
become aware of those entries he gave extraordinary notice of
dismissal terminating the apprenticeship. The plaintiff filed an
action for protection against dismissal and basically invoked his
right to freely express his opinion.
While the Labor Court of Bochum held up the action for
protection against dismissal at the first instance, the Higher
Labor Court of Hamm considered the dismissal as effective. The
Higher Labor Court of Hamm considered that calling the instructor a
"slave driver & exploiter" constituted an insult
which was made accessible to a multitude of persons. In the view of
the Higher Labor Court of Hamm, the insult justified the
extraordinary notice of dismissal, also when taking into account
the special features of the apprenticeship, above all since the
plaintiff was aged 26 years when he insulted him and thus had a
corresponding level of understanding.
This judgment rendered by the Higher Labor Court of Hamm
strengthens the rights of employers against defamatory statements
made by employees on social networks, taking in particular into
account that such statements may become known to quite a large
group of persons. Nevertheless, it has to be noted that insulting
statements made by the employee about the employer do not justify
an extraordinary notice of dismissal per se. It has always to be
examined in the individual case whether the statement is covered by
the free expression of opinion or whether the statement does not
enjoy protection by a fundamental right – e.g. is beyond the
limit of abusive criticism or statements defamatory upon their
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
April 2015 saw the reshaping of family-friendly leave with the birth of Shared Parental Leave (SPL). Can employers offer enhanced contractual pay to mothers/primary adopters but not to fathers/partners?
In an eagerly awaited decision, the Court of Appeal ruled earlier today that creditors cannot access a bankrupt's pension benefits which have not come in payment.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).