What to do after being dismissed in Germany

What to do after being dismissed in Germany

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Have you recently been dismissed by your employer and don’t know how to react? Berlin-based legal-tech startup CONNY gives their advice on how to respond to a letter of termination.

Most of the time, working in Germany is great - you can earn a good salary while enjoying strong legal protection as an employee. Nevertheless, for a multitude of different reasons, terminations can happen. If you’ve recently received a letter of termination, follow these three steps to make sure you react in the best possible way. 

1. Keep calm and don’t overreact!

As surprising as being dismissed by your employer can be, it’s important that you don’t panic and / or overreact. After receiving the termination you have three weeks to take action against it. Employers most likely want to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible - but don’t get pressured into signing a cancellation agreement (or something similar) right away. 

Take time to inform yourself about the possibilities you have. Also, being rude towards your boss or colleagues won’t help - and will in all likeliness rather weaken your future position when fending off your termination or claiming a severance payment. 

2. Register as a job seeker with the employment agency

It won’t feel good, but it’s necessary to register as a job seeker with the employment agency as soon as possible - no later than three months before the notice period ends. If your notice period is shorter than three months, you only have three working days to register. It’s worth sticking to this, because if you do not register as a jobseeker in time, you will be blocked from receiving unemployment benefits for (at least) one week. 

You can register as a jobseeker in the following ways:

It is also advisable to register yourself as a jobseeker if you want to defend yourself against your dismissal with a termination protection lawsuit. 

3. Double-check your rights and take action against the termination

Due to the protected status of employees in Germany, plenty of dismissals are actually unlawful and you can take action against them - meaning you can either receive a severance payment or continue your employment. 

The Dismissal Protection Law (Kündigungsschutzgesetz KSchG) protects employees against unjustified dismissals. It applies if:

  • The company regularly employs more than 10 employees (if the employment relationship began on January 1, 2004 or later), or more than five employees (if the employment relationship began before January 1, 2004); and
  • The employee has been employed for more than six months (is no longer in their probationary period).

In principle, a dismissal is only effective if it is socially justified (except for dismissals within the probationary period, i.e. the first six months). A dismissal is socially justified if the reasons lie in the employee’s person or behaviour or if there are urgent operational requirements. 

Submitting a dismissal protection lawsuit

Unjustified dismissals can be warded off with a dismissal protection lawsuit. If the labour court considers the dismissal to be unlawful, it declares the termination invalid. This generally leads to either:

  • The continued employment of the employee; or
  • A severance payment, in case of a termination of the employment relationship.

The deadline

There is, however, a three-week deadline. The validity of a dismissal must be challenged by a dismissal protection action at a labour court within three weeks of the notice of termination being received. If the employee fails to meet this deadline, even socially unjustified dismissals become effective.   

But because so many employees lack the proper information, and are at a power disadvantage against their employers, many unlawful dismissals go unchallenged - even though they’d have a good chance of being thrown out. 

Do you need help taking action against your termination or want to learn more about your rights as an employee? can help you easily online, without financial risk. Their expertise ensures that you will get the legal help you need - regardless of your financial situation.

Valentin  Bachmann


Valentin Bachmann

I am Valentin, working for and I am responsible for CONNYs labor law service, which helps people to fend off dismissals or negotiate severance payments. I am absolutely excited...

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