1st written warning from employer

103 posts in this topic

Hi all,

 

Greatful for any help.

 

I teach in a berufschule. A genuine mistake (my mis-reading the timetable) meant I didn't turn up for a lesson on Tuesday.

 

Today the boss gave me an 'Abmahnung' (written warning), which I had to sign reciept of, and threatens unspecified work related consequences if they have to give me another one.

 

Afterwards, I disussed it with an office mate who picked the following holes in it:

 

1. It speaks of several incidences of lateness but has only one dated example of being AWOL. Shouldn't they be more specific?

 

2. It doesn't say anywhere on it how long this will stay on my file - My colleauge reckons it should be shredded after 2 years and this should be made clear to me.

 

3. The consequences of re-offendening are covered by a generic sentence - something like 'work related consequences' (I don't have the thing in front of me right now, but could get it this afternoon); shouldn't it be a lot more specific?

 

My work mate reckons I should get to a lawyer within the next 3 weeks to get it annuled and taken off my file. She thinks it's the begining of a process to ease me out (we've been bought out and the new owners would love to shrink the payroll).

 

I haven't got the time to go to a lawyer until next week (and I don't know if I have rechtschutzversicherung for work-related problems, hope so), so can a more experienced TT-er jump in with any experiences of this?

 

Apologies for length and thanks in advance,

 

Edd

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I don't plan on repeat offending!

 

But is it really normal (or even allowed) to keep it in my file for so long?

 

Does it really carry water when it's so open to interpretaion?

 

?

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This is the norm in Germany. It should only affect you at this job and only if you are a repeat offender, as it protects them if they have to fire you later based on your actions.

 

I am not sure off hand how long it stays in the file.

 

YOu signed it, and yes it does carry legal weight.

 

If it would have been for something you did not do, like say they accuse you of stealing 100 bucks and want you to sign, then you would have to refuse to sign and then talk about a lawyer, but only when wrongly accused. By signing you acknowledged that you were in violation of your working contract.

 

But even in other countries it is the norm to write people up and put reports in work or school files.

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They are covering their butts in case of any future 'problems' to make it easier to get rid of you if you become in their eyes a troublesome employee. On its own this warning doesn't really impact you a lot, except to give you a heads up that from now on probably any and all misunderstandings will be formally recorded.

 

The one dated example, along with allegations of previous incidents which were allowed to slide, will back them up in case of any future disputes.

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But getting a lawyer involved only shows you as problematic, as you have no recourse and you were not wronged. It is pretty much fair assumption that would be detrimental to your future with the company.

 

Just let it go and be more mindful of the way the schedule is written. We all mess up.

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Personally, Edd I'd bite the bullet in general but I would certainly go back and give an on-the-record correction to any factual errors (stated instances that are not true). Don't personalise it, just give the correcting facts. Everyone makes a mistake at some point. This is one I'd see as a process. Not all employers would do this but some might and you randomly have one that does.

 

You could go to a lawyer. But why? We can't run to a lawyer every time we make a mistake that has adverse consequences, or when working life does not go our way, surely? I tend to think the best thing is not to escalate where possible. Be careful of co-workers and the like who want to stir up drama (not involving them natch, they can just get to watch and have the boss think how much pleasanter and easier they are to work with).

 

Two important errors in handling the reading of facts that I assume are in German (the timetable and the instances detailed in the warning)? Maybe a bit of short-term support in that area might not come amiss? (Not least because, if anyone is "testing" you, they will have picked up on it).

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Thanks for the heads up.

 

It helps a lot to have the information about the bigger picture.

 

If anyone else has views or experiences to share, I'm all ears.

 

Edd

 

P.s. An answer to my problems within 10 minutes means I'm certainly going to pay my 10€ TT membership fee asap… this site is invaluable!

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First you gotta wait a bit, the membership page is down :(

 

Don't let it get under your skin, as you said you are not a repeat offender, and it is more work politics then anything else.

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Edd, sorry to spout bad news but in Germany, if you miss a scheduled work assignment you are required to "register" with the state that you are an identified "imissedworkonce" offender. :P Sorry, didn't want to spoil your day.

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Don't they use the "three strikes, you're out" model here as in after the third Abmahnung (I don't know if it is has to be for the same offence) they can issue a fristlose Kündigung (immediate dismissal)?

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Don't they use the "three strikes, you're out" model here as in after the third Abmahnung (I don't know if it is has to be for the same offence) they can issue a fristlose Kündigung(immediate dismissal).

 

Completely individual depending on the company - there's no three-strike law, a single Abmahnung is enough if the behavious you were warned about repeats. The three-strike rule, or more, is actually seen by courts as too lenient.

 

 

And to my knowledge it stays in your file indefinitely.

 

No. You can request having it removed from your file after a certain while, usually three years.

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This is from a normally quite reliable source:

 

 

Der Arbeitnehmer kann wie folgt auf eine Abmahnung reagieren:

* Er kann den Arbeitgeber auffordern, die Abmahnung aus der Personalakte zu entfernen.

* Er kann eine Gegendarstellung gem. § 83 Abs. 1 BetrVG zur Personalakte reichen.

* Er kann Beschwerde beim Arbeitgeber und/oder Betriebsrat wegen ungerechter Behandlung nach §§ 84, 85 BetrVG vortragen.

* Er kann zunächst untätig bleiben, aber später in einem Kündigungsschutzprozess die Abmahnung überprüfen lassen.

* Er kann beim Arbeitsgericht eine Klage auf Entfernung aus der Personalakte erheben.

Sorry but you have to translate it yourself. It seems to me, that option 4 makes the most sense. Do nothing right now, but in case they fire you based on this Abmahnung, take them to court.

 

I guess you should actually be glad, that the "Abmahnung" doesnt apply to formal requirements? Im no lawyer, but it seems to me, that if they fire you, this vague accusations wont carry much weight with the court.

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Very good, Jim, very good.

 

Are you here all night?

 

All night? He's free for the month, actually. He got canned for showing up late after waiting for the greeen man, so he's got all the time he needs.

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Doesn't seem to me like a big deal if you keep your nose clean from here on in.

 

You could be lucky in future and simply get a second warning if enough time has passed since this indescretion and the next one, or they could be nasty in a "We knew zis vun vas trouble from ze start" kind of way and really rev you.

 

But that could be the case with any company anywhere in the world.

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OK, maybe I'm a bit more hard-nosed than most, but here's my two cents.

 

If your employer is going to fire you, they'll find any excuse. This type of employer isn't worth working for in the first place.

 

If you are late/absent from work on more than one occasion without letting them know as soon as you are able, then you don't take your job seriously, and deserved to get the can.

 

If, as it appears is your case, you didn't realize that your presence was expected, then you need to square up to boss-man, and tell him/her that you weren't given notice that you were required, and you do not accept any responsibility for your absence. If they still insist upon making some kind of issue out of it, blow it off. If, as you say, you were honestly unaware, there's nothing else you can do.

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Some more info about Abmahnungen. I think I would write a short statement (see "Gegendarstellung" in the link), explaining that your absence was due to a mistake (in German "Versehen"), the misreading of the timetable. Should the Abmahnung later be of any importance, then your statement is recorded (it has to be filed in your "Personalakte" with the Abmahnung), and it's clear that the absence wasn't deliberate negligence. I wouldn't argue about the other instances of lateness, since they are not specified and therefore don't carry weight. I don't think you need a lawyer for that.

 

Punctuality is really important to many employers. I once got called out when working in a small office without attendance recorder after having been late a few times for like 5 min. I thought it wouldn't be a problem as it more than evened out with the time I stayed when work wasn't finished in the afternoon, but the point was that a timely start in the morning was important. I guess the school you're working for is worried that unpunctual teachers could set a bad example for pupils (and apprentices are said to sometimes have a lax attitude about basic requirements for any job).

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The Abmahnung does stay in your file, but it can be used to make you redundant only if you commit the very same offence again, so do be careful to turn up, and on time.

 

It's usually better not to sign anything you do not fully agree with (if there's been ONE incident only, do not sign anything stating 'several'), or sign it but point out in written form that you do not agree with this and that point. However, as far as my experience goes, in this case you do not sign for your agreement with the Abmahnung, but only to confirm that you received it. So I would probably hand in a polite Gegendarstellung (letter explaining that you have no knowledge of any other instances of lateness, excepting the one where you mixed up your dates) now. If you have a Betriebsrat, you can ask them for advice, and perhaps help.

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