Dismissal due to Covid 19 quarantine invalid


The Labour Court Cologne declared the termination of an employment relationship by an employer due to an officially ordered quarantine against his employee to be invalid.

In October 2020, the employee was in domestic quarantine as the contact person of his girlfriend's brother, who had tested positive for Covid-19, by telephone order of the public health department. The employee informed his employer, a small roofing company, of this. The employer doubted the quarantine order and suspected that the employee was only trying to "avoid" work. He demanded a written confirmation from the health authority, which the worker also requested from the health authority by telephone. When this written confirmation from the health authority was not received even after several days, the employer terminated the employment relationship.

The 8th Chamber of the Labour Court of Cologne upheld the action for protection against dismissal.

Admittedly, the Protection Against Dismissal Act did not apply, so that in principle the employer does not have to present a reason for termination to the court for a termination to be legally effective within the time limit. However, the court considered the dismissal to be immoral and in breach of trust. The employee had only complied with the official quarantine order. In the court's view, this was aggravated by the fact that the employer had expressly requested the employee to appear at the workplace contrary to the quarantine order.

The decision can be appealed to the Cologne Regional Labour Court.

Source: Press release of the ArbG Cologne No. 1/2021 of 21.04.2021.