Death threats towards the employer can be grounds for termination without notice

On August 8, 2016 the Labour Court of Düsseldorf (Arbeitsgericht Düsseldorf, docket number 7 Ca 514/15) ruled that a termination without notice can be justified if the employee seriously threatens his employer

The employer claimed a strong suspicion that his employee might have threatened him via telephone with the words “I kill you”. The employee had been working for the employer since 1988. During the court proceedings, the defendant alleged that he recognized the plaintiff’s striking voice. After interviewing the plaintiff, his divorced wife and his neighbour, the court came to the conclusion that the employer’s accusations about the telephone call were true. The court ruled that such a threatening telephone call severely violates the employee’s contractual obligations.

On the basis of a serious and sustainable threat against the employer, the employer is not obliged to maintain the employment agreement with the employee. Due to the seriousness of the infringement a warning letter before termination was not necessary.