Written notice of dismissal posted into an employee's home mailbox after 4 pm on a work day should not be considered as having been received on that day.

In this case the employer issued the employee with notice of summary dismissal by post. The letter was posted into the employee's home mailbox at 4:13 pm. Under German law, the date on which notice is received is important, as § 4 of the Protection Against Unfair Dismissal Act (KSchG) stipulates that the deadline for filing a claim of unfair dismissal is 3 weeks from the date on which notice of dismissal is received by the employee. In this case the local labour court ruled that the notice of dismissal should be considered to have been received on the following day. This decision was upheld by the Regional Labour Court (Cologne) on appeal.

In a similar case, the Regional Labour Court (Berlin-Brandenburg) decided that notice of dismissal posted into the employee's home mailbox at 10:15 am should be considered to have been received on that day (despite the fact that mail is usually delivered between 8 and 8:30 am).

Both cases underline the difficulties/uncertainty surrounding "deemed receipt" of notice of termination. It is best practice for employers to secure some form of "proof of receipt" when issuing notice of dismissal. This can either be in the form of a signed receipt (when the notice is delivered by hand) or a recorded delivery slip.