Germany: Verrechnung von Zahlungen auf einen Nachteilsausgleich mit einer Sozialplanabfindung

Last Updated: 12 July 2019
Article by Michael Wahl
Most Read Contributor in Germany, July 2019

Zwischen einem gerichtlich ausgeurteilten Nachteilsausgleich im Sinne des § 113 Abs. 3 BetrVG und einer mit dem Betriebsrat vereinbarten Sozialplanabfindung im Sinne von § 112 Abs. 1 S. 2 BetrVG besteht regelmäßig Zweckidentität. Beide können daher nicht kumulativ beansprucht werden.

BAG, Urteil vom 12.02.2019 – 1 AZR 279 / 17

Die Parteien stritten über die Zahlung einer Sozialplanabfindung. Das beklagte Unternehmen hatte beschlossen, den Geschäftsbetrieb zu schließen und verhandelte mit dem Betriebsrat einen Interessenausgleich. Vor Abschluss dieses Interessenausgleiches sprach es gegenüber allen Arbeitnehmern, darunter auch dem Kläger, eine ordentliche Kündigung aus. Noch während des Laufes der Kündigungsfrist schloss die Beklagte nachträglich mit dem Betriebsrat einen Sozialplan. Aus diesem Sozialplan stand dem Kläger eine Abfindung von EUR 9.000,00 zu. Der Kläger erstrebt vor dem Arbeitsgericht als Nachteilsausgleich die Zahlung einer Abfindung von insgesamt EUR 16.307,20, wegen des Ausspruchs der Kündigung vor Abschluss des Interessenausgleiches. Die Beklagte zahlte den Interessenausgleich in voller Höhe, verweigerte aber die zusätzliche Zahlung der Abfindung von EUR 9.000,00. Die Zahlungen wurden lediglich als Abfindung bezeichnet. Der Kläger verlangte die zusätzliche Zahlung von EUR 9.000,00 auf der Grundlage des Sozialplanes.

Nachdem die Klage bereits durch das Arbeitsgericht und das Landesarbeitsgericht abgewiesen wurde, hatte auch die Revision vor dem Bundesarbeitsgericht keinen Erfolg.

Das Bundesarbeitsgericht bestätigte in der Entscheidung seine bisherige Rechtsprechung, wonach die Zahlung einer Abfindung auf der Grundlage eines Nachteilsausgleiches und die Vereinbarung einer Sozialplanabfindung dem gleichen Zweck dienen. Zweck ist eine zukunftsbezogene Ausgleichs- und Überbrückungsfunktion bedingt durch den Verlust des Arbeitsplatzes. Daran ändert es auch nichts, dass der Sozialplan mit dem Betriebsrat vereinbart wird und der Nachteilsausgleich als Ausgleich für nicht betriebsverfassungsgemäßes Verhalten gewährt wird. Das Bundesarbeitsgericht betont noch einmal, dass der Nachteilsausgleich keinen bußgeldähnlichen Strafcharakter hat, sondern die Nachteile einer Entlassung abmildern soll. Das Gericht hat sich darüber hinaus auch mit der Frage auseinandergesetzt, ob Europarecht, hier die sogenannte Massenentlassungsrichtlinie, eine gesonderte Sanktion in Form des Nachteilsausgleiches neben der Sozialplanabfindung fordert, dies im Ergebnis aber verneint. Das europäische Recht überlässt den Mitgliedstaaten Sanktionen für die Verstöße gegen Unionsrecht im nationalen Recht festzulegen. Soweit das unionrechtlich festgelegte Konsultationsverfahren nach § 17 Abs. 2 KSchG betroffen ist, reicht aber die Rechtsfolge der Unwirksamkeit der Kündigung nach § 134 BGB aus. Eine darüber hinausgehende Sanktion in Form eines Nachteilsausgleiches zusätzlich zu einer vereinbarten Sozialplanabfindung ist nach Ansicht des BAG nicht erforderlich. Als unschädlich sah es das Gericht darüber hinaus auch an, dass die Beklagte die Zahlung lediglich als Abfindung" deklariert hatte, ohne näher zu bestimmen, ob sie auf den Nachteilsausgleich oder Sozialplanabfindung zahlt. Nach Ansicht des BAG tritt eine Erfüllungswirkung als objektive Folge der Zahlung ein, ohne dass der Arbeitgeber eine Leistungsbestimmung im engeren Sinne ausüben muss. Infolge der Anrechenbarkeit der Sozialplanabfindung auf die Nachteilsausgleichszahlung erlischt mit der Zahlung der eine sowie der andere Anspruch.

Praxistipp:

Trotz der Anrechenbarkeit sollte auch weiterhin in Sozialplänen darauf geachtet werden, dass die Anrechenbarkeit der mit dem Betriebsrat ausgehandelten Abfindung auf andere, dem gleichen Zweck dienende Zahlungen, wie den Nachteilsausgleich sowie individuelle Abfindungen, vereinbart wird. Weiter ist bei den Verhandlung mit dem Betriebsrat streng zu unterscheiden zwischen einem Verstoß gegen die Verhandlungspflicht bezüglich des Interessenausgleiches und einem Verstoß gegen das Konsultationsverfahren nach § 17 Abs. 2 KSchG. Im ersten Fall bleibt eine ausgesprochene Kündigung wirksam, der Arbeitnehmer erwirbt lediglich den Nachteilsausgleichsanspruch, der zudem mit einer späteren Sozialplanabfindung verrechnet werden kann. Im zweiten Fall ist die Kündigung unwirksam, mit der Folge, dass das Prozedere wiederholt werden muss.

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