Can you be fired for partying during sick leave in Germany?
Woman fired for partying while on sick leave
Your boss might not expect you to be bedbound while on sick leave, but partying the night away could lead some to doubt whether you were ill in the first place. This was the case for one woman working in the care sector in Germany who called in sick for two weekend night shifts.
On Saturday night the woman went out to a party where she posted pictures of herself on a messenger app and was photographed by an event photographer, whose pictures were later uploaded to the event website. After her employer saw how she had spent her sick leave, the woman was fired from her job.
Can workers in Germany be fired for partying during sick leave?
Following her dismissal, the care worker took her boss to trial at a labour court, where she lost her case. The labour court ruled that the woman had deceived her employer about her sickness and proved that she had not been honest.
Despite originally claiming that the leave was due to flu symptoms, the woman claimed in court that she took the time off because she had been feeling mentally unwell - a diagnosis which was given by a doctor two days after the weekend. However, the court dismissed this, ruling that it was “simply unbelievable” that the plaintiff could feel mentally unwell and better immediately after the weekend without having received any psychological help.
In Germany, workers cannot legally be fired based solely on activity that their employer finds on their social media accounts, the contract termination must be justified. In another case, a trainee at an insurance company in Munich who was on sick leave with a broken arm was fired after her employer saw pictures of her meeting up with friends and a colleague in the evening. According to ver.di, Germany’s largest trade union, the company’s works council deemed the dismissal unfair and the employer's evidence was not accepted in a labour court.
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