The BAG reiterates the importance of hearing the affected employee as a condition for the pronouncement of an extraordinary ban on suspicion.

BAG, judgment v. 25.04.2018 - 2 AZR 611/17

The plaintiff employee was employed since 1991 at the defendant savings bank, last as a cashier. On 27.05.2015 she ordered from the Deutsche Bundesbank an amount of EUR 115,000.00 in fifty-euro notes. Upon delivery on 28.05.2015, the plaintiff acknowledged the receipt of the delivery and the integrity of the seal of the money bin. She then deposited the delivered container in the cashier area and then opened it alone. About 20 minutes later, she called a colleague and told him that she only found baby food and detergent in the container.

In the subsequent searches of the Criminal Investigation found this in the apartment of the plaintiff in the closet an amount of EUR 2,900.00 and some other small amounts. In the applicant's safe deposit box, the Kriminalpolizei found envelopes with amounts of EUR 14,800.00, EUR 16,000.00 and a further EUR 6,200.00, whereby it was determined that the applicant regularly visited her bank box from July 2015 and made or initiated the deposits , After the defendant has heard the plaintiff in a personal interview on 07.04.2016, she pronounced the extraordinary and immediate, in the alternative extraordinary termination of the employment relationship with expiration date on 19.04.2016.

The FOPH took the above facts as an opportunity to emphasize once again some essential principles to pronounce an extraordinary suspicious termination, although ultimately it could not decide on the matter, but referred the matter back for further investigation.

In its ruling, the BAG emphasizes that, unlike a so-called "termination of action", it is a precondition for the effectiveness of an extraordinary dismissal of suspicion that the employee concerned was sufficiently heard before the notice of termination was given. The FOPH derives this principle from the requirement of proportionality. In the opinion of the FOPH, the necessary consultation of the employee must be carried out in the context of the required clarification of the facts, whereby the extent and the form of the hearing must be based on the circumstances of the individual case. In the view of the BAG, however, it is not enough for the employer to merely confront the employee with generally held valuations. Rather, it is necessary for the employee to be able to identify at the hearing, which facts the employer considers to be in need of clarification. In particular, an examination by the employer is required, in his opinion, if the existing circumstantial evidence substantiates a sufficiently urgent suspicion.

Darüber hinaus weist das BAG darauf hin, dass hinsichtlich der Einhaltung der Zwei-Wochen-Frist gemäß § 626 Abs. 2 BGB zum Ausspruch einer außerordentlichen Kündigung die Frist erst in dem Zeitpunkt beginnt, in dem der Kündigungsberechtigte eine zuverlässige und möglichst vollständige positive Kenntnis der einschlägigen Tatsachen hat, die eine Entscheidung über die Fortsetzung oder Kündigung des Arbeitsverhältnisses ermöglichen. Diese Ermittlungen hat der Arbeitgeber mit der gebotenen Eile durchzuführen, um sich so eine umfassende und zuverlässige Kenntnis des Kündigungssachverhaltes zu verschaffen. Im Rahmen dieser Ermittlungen ist der Arbeitnehmer innerhalb einer kurzen Frist anzuhören, die im Allgemeinen nicht mehr als eine Woche betragen und nur bei Vorliegen besonderer Umstände überschritten werden darf.

In this context, however, the FOPH also points out that the employee can await the outcome and outcome of investigations and criminal proceedings and, depending on this, may terminate the proceedings at a time not arbitrarily chosen. The employer is free to either investigate and / or await the outcome of an investigation or prosecution.

Conclusion:

The recent decision of the BAG underlines again the special importance of the hearing of the employee before a statement of suspicion and shows how this is the two-week period of § 626 BGB to bring into line.