GRP Rainer LLP

Contractual Forfeiture Clause Does Not Lead to the Exclusion of Liability for Deliberate Acts

A contractual forfeiture clause included in an employment contract may not necessarily apply in the case of already legally regulated cases.


Cologne, NRW -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/14/2013 -- GRP Rainer Attorneys and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Nuremberg and Stuttgart explain: This was decided by the Federal Labor Court (BAG) by its judgment issued on June 20, 2013 (file ref. no.: 8 AZR 280/12). A forfeiture clause that has been agreed to by parties of an employment relationship and which has been included within a contract of employment may only apply to those cases which have not already been regulated by law, so that, for example, liability for deliberate acts arising from such a clause would not be included.

The judgment was based on a case in which the parties, within the framework an employment contract which had been concluded for a term of one year, had agreed that a reciprocal assertion of claims from and relating to the employment relationship would only be possible within three months from the payable due date in writing. Otherwise, such claims would expire.

The employment relationship between the parties was terminated due to long-term illness and related disability of the applicant in the agreement. The applicant soon thereafter reportedly declared to her former employer that she would be filing charges for harassment and insult. Three months after termination of the employment relationship, she then additionally filed a complaint for damages with the Labor Court.

After the proceedings in the lower courts had proved unsuccessful, the BAG referred the lawsuit for a new hearing and decision by the District Court whose objective lay therein to determine whether or not a deliberate act of the employer and its agents could form the grounds for a claim to compensation for immaterial damage.

The BAG decided that the parties, in particular, could not effectively settle liability for the deliberate acts or its time limitations by contractual agreements related to the employment relationship due to clear legal regulations. This could not have been intended by the parties due to lack of special criteria. Such a clause could not have been effective in any case.

An experienced attorney practicing in the area of employment law provides support, in particular for questions on employment contracts, written warnings, and dismissal.

Adhering to deadlines is especially important in the area of employment law because these are often structured so as to facilitate a quick response of the parties and any claims filed beyond the deadline period may no longer be enforceable. An attorney can help you enforce claims and stand by your side with legal problems related to the area of employment.

About GRP Rainer LLP
GRP Rainer LLP is an international firm of lawyers and tax advisors who are specialists in commercial law. The firm counsels commercial and industrial companies and corporations, as well as associations, small- and mid-sized businesses, self-employed freelancers and private individuals worldwide from offices Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Dusseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Munich, Stuttgart, Bremen, Nuremberg and London UK.

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