Terminations of pregnant women must contain written reasons for the termination
Although the importance of the compatibility of work and family is not always emphasized by politics, employers still seem to be trying to get rid of women immediately after they become pregnant. However, pregnant women fall under the protection of the Maternity Protection Act and therefore the employer must provide a written reason why the affected person should be released anyway, according to a recent decision of the Labor Court in Nuremberg (AZ: 8 Ca 2123/09 ). If the written reason for the termination is not included, the judge decides that it is no longer valid.
In the current case, the employer had given the termination to a pregnant employee and gave no explicit reason in the letter, but referred to other documents from which the reasons for the dismissal can be found. The employer also argued in court that the reasons for the dismissal had already been explained in detail in the administrative procedure and therefore only stated in the letter of termination that an operational, timely termination took place. In the opinion of the Nuremberg Labor Court, however, the reasons for termination must be included in the notice of termination; a reference to other documents is not sufficient here. For example, termination and reasons for pregnant employees must be summarized in a uniform declaration in order to ensure that the reasons for termination can be legally checked with regard to the Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG). According to the current verdict, the written form is not preserved if the termination and the reason are contained in two different statements. Such dismissal is therefore ineffective, the judges of the labor court said, thereby confirming the applicant's position.
Maternity Protection Act prevents dismissals of pregnant women to a relatively large extent In the interests of pregnant employees, the current verdict is a clear success because it ensures that the reason for a possible termination must be in writing in any case and that it can therefore be legally checked. Since the Maternity Protection Act also offers relatively extensive protection against dismissal from the beginning of pregnancy to four months after childbirth, employers are likely to have considerable difficulties in providing appropriate written justification, which nevertheless allows dismissal. Exceptions that may allow such termination during pregnancy are, for example, the bankruptcy of the company or a particularly serious breach of duty by the employees. Pregnant women who feel that their employer only wants to get rid of them because of the pregnancy, therefore have the option to take action against such dismissals in any case, even if they may no longer personally want to work for a company with such an anti-family attitude in the future. (fp)
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