Stole money from employer?
When an offense committed leads to termination of employment.
If an employee commits a crime, in addition to being punished by the law enforcement authorities, in many cases he also risks that his employer has an employment relationship terminates properly or without notice for an important reason ("extraordinary"). Forbidden behavior can have an impact not only on criminal law, but also on labor law. In this article, we clarify when termination of employment due to a crime is considered.
In the case of a crime committed, it must first be checked whether it can be assigned to the official or non-official area. Crimes that relate to an obligation from the employment relationship are generally relevant to dismissal and therefore usually justify termination of the employment contract. Offenses outside the office are only relevant to dismissal if they have an impact on the employment relationship.
This includes in particular acts directed against the property and assets of the employer. Theft or embezzlement of property owned by the employer usually justifies an extraordinary termination without notice. The same applies to theft or embezzlement from work colleagues. Another reason for termination is a deliberately incorrect expense report, working time fraud or the acceptance of bribe money. The acceptance of smaller gifts such as calendars, pens and the like only justifies a proper behavior-related termination if the acceptance of such things is clearly prohibited in the employment contract.
Crimes and administrative offenses committed by the employee while exercising or on occasion of work may also justify dismissal. For example, if the employee commits theft from a customer, he is also violating an obligation under the employment contract and the employer can declare termination. If the employee commits a traffic offense during a business trip, this also violates an obligation in the employment relationship. Whether this can result in immediate termination is, however, a question of the individual case, as is the question of whether a warning is necessary or unnecessary. A slight overspeed should normally have no consequences for the employment relationship.
An employee also has a duty to consider the interests of his employer outside of work, which can be derived from Section 241 (2) BGB. The employee must therefore generally protect the interests of the employer in connection with the employment relationship in the way that the employee can reasonably be requested taking into account his position and activity with the employer and taking into account the mutual interests (§ 242 BGB). Dismissal is therefore only considered in the case of off-duty behavior on the part of the employee if the employee violates his duty to be considerate and this affects the legitimate interests of the employer. This can occur, for example, if the off-duty behavior has a negative impact on the company or is related to the employment relationship. If there are no such effects, dismissal for an off-duty crime is ruled out. The key question is therefore always whether a certain punishable behavior has an impact on the employment relationship. This depends in particular on the type of employment and the activity and is therefore always a question of the individual case. An impact on the employment relationship is assumed, for example, if the employee uses resources to commit a crime or if a colleague's children are sexually abused. However, operational effects can also result from the fact that an off-duty offense raises doubts about the reliability and trustworthiness of the employee, for example in the case of financial crimes when committed by an accountant, cashier, money messenger or investment adviser. For teachers and educators who have committed physical injury offenses, dismissal is also possible, whereas this is usually not the case for a school caretaker.
If you have any questions about a termination or employment law, please contact us Mr. Attorney Michael Gabler, Mr. Gabler represents you at the labor courts in Regensburg and Landshut (Labor Court in Regensburg, Landshut Chamber).