Dismissal Based on Reasonable Suspicion

A dismissal based on reasonable suspicion is a delicate matter in labor law that can pose challenges for both employers and employees. In this article, we will shed light on the basics, requirements, rights, and responsibilities related to it.


Dismissal Based on Reasonable Suspicion - a Definition

Suspicion-based dismissal comes into effect when the employer has a well-founded suspicion, based on facts, that the employee has committed a serious breach of trust. The weight of the violation can be interpreted differently, but the suspicion must be based on objective evidence and carefully examined before a termination is issued.

Termination of Employment - What to Consider?

Terminating an employment contract is always a unilateral declaration of intent. Unlike a termination agreement or an amendment contract, it is legally effective even without the consent of the contracting party. However, certain regulations, rules, and boundaries from labor law must be observed.

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Basic Requirements for a Suspicion-Based Dismissal

Before suspicion-based dismissals can be issued, at least one of the following conditions must be met.

Well-Founded Suspicion: There must be a well-founded suspicion based on concrete facts. This suspicion must be serious enough to justify an extraordinary termination.

Balancing of Interests: The employer must weigh whether continuing the employment relationship until the conclusion of possible legal proceedings is unreasonable. The interests of the employee and the employer must be taken into account in this consideration.

Termination Without Prior Warning

It is a widespread misconception that the employer must issue a warning to the employee before a termination can be issued. There are no legal obligations for this.

Rights and Responsibilities of the Employer

In the case of a suspicion-based termination, the employer is obliged to take the following measures.

Burden of Proof: The employer bears the burden of proof for the suspicion and the weighting of the breach of duty. They must conduct a thorough and comprehensive examination to ensure that the suspicion is justified.

Hearing: Before issuing a suspicion termination, the employee must be given the opportunity to be heard. This gives the employee the opportunity to respond to the allegations and present evidence.

Avoid Hasty Decisions: Suspicion-based terminations should not be issued hastily. The employer should exercise the necessary due diligence and consider seeking legal advice.

Rights and Responsibilities of the Employee

The employee also has the right to the following actions.

Lawsuit: If the employee believes that the suspicion termination is unjustified, they can file a lawsuit against it. The labor court will then decide on the validity of the termination.

Continued Salary Payment: Until a legally binding decision is made regarding the termination, the employee is entitled to continued salary payments.

Risks for Employers

Suspicion-based terminations carry several risks and potential consequences for the employer.

Unjustified Termination: If the suspicion is not confirmed and the termination was unjustified, the employer may face claims for damages.

Reputation Damage: An unwarranted suspicion termination can harm the company's reputation and deter potential future employees.

Costs of Legal Proceedings: The employer is responsible for the costs of legal proceedings if the employee challenges the termination.


Suspicion-based terminations are a complex and legally demanding topic in labor law. Employers should ensure they have the necessary evidence for suspicion of a serious breach of duty before issuing a suspicion termination. Employees should be aware of their rights and seek legal advice promptly in the event of suspicion termination. Thorough examination and legal consultation are essential in this context. Suspicion termination should never be issued hastily and without adequate evaluation.


We would like to point out that our website provides non-binding information, which under no circumstances constitutes legal advice. This also, and especially, applies to topics within the sphere of legal HR advise. The content of this contribution cannot and is not intended to replace individual and binding legal advice. For this reason, all information provided is without guarantee of correctness and completeness, but always researched with the utmost care.

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