Can my employer terminate me during the probationary period?

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In the first six months of an employment relationship, employers do not need a reason for an ordinary termination. © Christin Klose/dpa-tmn/Illustration

During the probationary period, employers and employees can check whether they are a good match. But what if the employer is dissatisfied? Does he have to provide a reason for termination?

Cologne – The first six months of a new job often coincide with the probationary period. It offers employers and employees the opportunity to get to know each other and to check the cooperation. Employees usually show their best behavior in order to keep the job. But do employers even need a reason for dismissal during the probationary period?

No. “In the first six months of the employment relationship, there is no protection against dismissal, so there is no need for a reason for the proper notice of termination,” says Nathalie Oberthür, specialist lawyer for labor law in Cologne.

Nathalie Oberthür is a specialist lawyer for labor law and chairwoman of the labor law committee of the German Bar Association (DAV). She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Working Group on Labor Law in the DAV.

Nathalie Oberthür

Conversely, this also applies to employees who may not like their new employer.

Protection against dismissal only after six months

The Employment Protection Act only comes into effect after this waiting period of six months if the company regularly has more than ten employees. Employers then have to provide important reasons if they want to properly terminate an employee.

Termination without notice, on the other hand, is not so easy, even during the probationary period. “For an extraordinary termination without notice, there must always be an important reason for the termination, which makes it unreasonable for the employer to continue the employment relationship, even for the duration of the notice period,” explains Oberthür.

However, since a shortened notice period of only two weeks applies during the probationary period, this case is rather rare in practice. dpa

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