C as in Change notice
What is the particular characteristic of a dismissal with the option of altered conditions of employment?
A dismissal with the option of altered conditions of employment (change notice, Änderungskündigung) is a notice of termination of the previous employment relationship by the employer combined with the offer to conclude a new employment contract under altered – usually worse – conditions. This is due to the fact that an employer cannot unilaterally take back working conditions that have been agreed upon in the employment contract. They therefore have to terminate the contract as a whole and offer you a new, albeit altered, contract.
Issuing a change notice can be required because a full on termination is only permissible as a last resort and a change notice is a less invasive method to react to changed circumstances.
The employee has three options for responding to it:
- Accept: The termination then does not take effect and the employment relationship continues under the altered conditions.
- Accept conditionally: The termination takes effect and the offer of altered conditions is accepted under the provision that the alternations are justified under social aspects. A legal action is then brought against the termination and the labor court examines whether the alternations proposed by the employer are justified under the Protection against Dismissal Act. If the action is successful, the employment relationship continues unchanged under the previous conditions; if the action is rejected, the employment relationship continues under the altered conditions. Thus, in the case of conditional acceptance, only the terms of the employment relationship are in dispute, not whether the employment continues as such.
- Reject: The termination becomes effective and the employment relationship ends. The employee can take legal action against the termination before the labor court. If the action is successful, the employment relationship continues under the old conditions. If the action is unsuccessful, the employment relationship is terminated.
Please note: This is a very general overview on the subject of change notices under german labor law. If you need help in your particular case, please do not hestitate to contact me or book your appointment. I’m happy to help.