Home > Workplace > Germany > 2010-07-01 - High Labour Court of Düsseldorf, n. 5 SA 996/09

2010-07-01 - High Labour Court of Düsseldorf, n. 5 SA 996/09

Workplace · Germany · Employement contract · Faith-Based Organisation

Termination of an employment contract as a result of entering a second marriage after divorce

Key facts of the case - A hospital which belongs to the Catholic Church terminated the employment contract of one doctor since he has remarried after divorce. Before that the doctor and his first wife got secularly divorced. The procedure of annulment according to the Catholic Church is still pending. Now the doctor claims that the termination is invalid.

Main reasoning of the court - The doctor’s claim has to be granted by the court, thus the termination of contract is invalid. Although the doctor signed an employment contract by confirming the Catholic dogma and ethics according to Art 4 I GO (Basic Order of Church Service in the Framework of Churchly Employment Relationship). Due to Art 4 I GO the canon law is applicable (codex juris canonici). Hereafter a marriage is only considered as divorced if an annulment procedure is successfully completed according to § 1, 2 can 1085 codex juris canonici (cic).
Firstly the termination is disproportional since the employer knew long time before the termination that the doctor had cohabitation. Secondly Catholic employees were discriminated against the right to equality regarding to Protestant employees who are able to remarry without any consequences.
Therefore the termination of the employment contract in the case at stake is invalid as an exception. Generally – under consideration of the reasons above – such a termination would be quite valid.