Often employers resort to warning letter (Abmahnung) when they wish to express their grievance with the (mis)conduct of an employee.
These warning letter have three functions:
- First is to enable the employer to express their concern for an misconduct based on the employee’s contractual obligations (reference function).
- Second is to enable the employer to express the need for the employee to behave according to their contractual obligations (reprimand function).
- Third is to enable to the employer to indicate the consequences in terms of employment if the employee repeats the misconduct (warning function).
Warning letter as a precursor to dismissal
This type of notice is often a precursor to a dismissal: If the employee continues to behave in the same manner as the one that led to the notice, he/she risks being dismissed. Employers often opt for a notice of admonition first and then terminate the employment based on misconduct. This must be a relevant warning. It is not sufficient that the employee has been warned for another breach of obligation.
Options for the employee
Employees have three options in this case:
- Firstly, they can opt to do nothing.
- Secondly, they can ask to have a note added to their personnel file depicting their side of the story.
- Thirdly, they can request to have the warning notice removed from their file.
The individual case will determine which of the three options is the most appropriate. Take advantage of my many years of experience and make an appointment. We discuss your options. Click here for more information on my fees.
Even after many years a warning can still be attacked. Therefore, a time limit for legal action is not to be observed.
Power Imrovement Plan (PIP)
The Power Improvement Plan is an agreement between employer and employee. Intermediate and final targets for a certain period of time are intended to improve the employee’s performance. Sometimes such plans are unilaterally set by the employer, especially if the employer is dissatisfied with an employee’s performance. According to the case law of the Federal Labor Court, the PIP does not have consequences under labor law such as a warning letter.
But: In practice, it can be observed more and more frequently that HR departments use the instrument to prepare employer-side dismissals or to provoke employee dismissals or the approval of termination agreements. Employees should therefore consider whether they sign such agreements and whether they participate in the evaluation.