Company withholding pay unless I sign severance agreement

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My employers at the startup I recently joined (approximately 5 people), want to terminate the agreement since they believe I have not made the required progress. I have no probation in my contract and the notice period is listed as 1.5 months. I have worked with them for 3 months. However the terms they are offering for termination are very unfair, since they want to terminate the contract without notice and have withheld pay for the last 30 days stating I will get it once I sign the termination agreement. What are my options in this regards?

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I have a permanent residence visa in Germany and I have paid arbeitlosgeld from my previous job, for over 24 months.

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I took the liberty of changing the thread title, to reflect the most pertinent issue.

 

I'm afraid I don't have any advice for you aside from lawyering up, but I can tell you that their conduct isn't legal - in fact, it verges on the criminal (blackmail/Nötigung).

 

To cover all your bases, make sure you notify the Arbeitsamt of your employer's intention to dismiss you, so you don't endanger your unemployment entitlement. Remember that any severance package you get will be taken into account in your unemployment benefits, which means you may not get any for the first few months.

 

Best of luck to you, and please let us know how things work out.

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I'd would actually go to the Agentur für Arbeit to see what they can do for you before even going to a lawyer.

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it is certainly illegal to withhold your salary in order to pressure you to sign something like that. Definitely get a lawyer on board, because you might be entitled to much more than what you believe even. 

 

Cheerio

 

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Is the money actually witheld?

 

I thought that you always worked a month in hand....

 

Lets see a copy of the termination agreement...

 

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@SpiderPig Yes they have not paid me for August and I have email from HR that I should talk to the CEO and CTO about it. In the meeting they said they wanted to terminate the agreement, and tried to negotiate the amount that they pay me up til now and that I sign a paper that I agree with the that. They have not drawn it up because I have not agreed to sign it.

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Definitely go to Arbeitsamt and ask them if they can help.  Seeing a lawyer is not a bad idea either.  Definitely don't sign anything for now.

 

There is another thread here by someone who is getting laid off from a small company while being sick.  He talked to a lawyer and was told that a small company, under 10 employees, does not need a reason to lay someone off.  You can google this too.  It's true.  They do however have to pay you your notice as it is stated in your contract.  If you do not have a probation period in your contract, they will have to give you the 1.5 months.  

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1 hour ago, smilingSam said:

Yes they have not paid me for August and I have email from HR that I should talk to the CEO and CTO about it.

 

Does the email say that they are not going to pay until you sign?

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Run, do not walk, to the Arbeitsgericht in north Schwabing. Explain what is going on (in German) and the helpers there will start a Klage.

 

http://www.lag.bayern.de/muenchen/gerichte/muenchen/index.php

 

You pay for this useful service with your taxes.

 

They won't advise you as to what to do, they will simply start the lawsuit if you ask them to. You need to know the grounds. Not getting paid is pretty clearly something they will know how to handle.

 

And starting a Klage in Germany is simply the polite way of saying you're not going to take their bullshit. They will inevitably offer you a better deal (so know what you want as a result).

 

 

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3 hours ago, mako1 said:

Run, do not walk, to the Arbeitsgericht in north Schwabing. Explain what is going on (in German) and the helpers there will start a Klage.

 

http://www.lag.bayern.de/muenchen/gerichte/muenchen/index.php

 

You pay for this useful service with your taxes.

 

They won't advise you as to what to do, they will simply start the lawsuit if you ask them to. You need to know the grounds. Not getting paid is pretty clearly something they will know how to handle.

 

And starting a Klage in Germany is simply the polite way of saying you're not going to take their bullshit. They will inevitably offer you a better deal (so know what you want as a result).

 

 

Isnt a 'Klage' a lawsuit? If they want to settle, how will the proceeding go then? I wanted to run there, but they are closed for the day.

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A Klage can also refer to a simple complaint, or to an administrative action or grievance.

 

In this case, if you report your employer to the Arbeitsgericht, they can light a fire under their asses. IMO you have nothing to lose, since they want to get rid of you anyway.

 

German can be tricky.

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1 minute ago, El Jeffo said:

A Klage can also refer to a simple complaint, or to an administrative action or grievance.

 

German can be tricky.

Thanks for the quick reply, I will go there tomorrow morning.

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Sam, like Jeffo said, it is tricky.

 

When you talk to the Arbeitsgericht they will explain it to you and that is your best option.

 

You can file the Klage without a lawyer for free. You and the firm get a letter inviting you (plural) to a negotiation session at the Arbeitsgericht. So you are not alone in the office with the CEO and your boss on their turf. Someone from the Arbeitsgericht is there to kind of arbitrate (not necessarily on anyones side).

 

If you are wrongly fired you can only sue to get your job back (in a short time window after your dismissal).

 

The firm can decide if they want to fight it (and they will definitely need a lawyer) or actually negotiate with you. If you have reasonable demands and they are not really thrilled about getting sued by one of their first employees (think of the glass door review) then you get at least a better deal.

If you reach an agreement (or you decide to move to Papau New Guineau) before the first or second negotiation or at any time you just write the Arbeitsgericht that you withdraw your complaint. Finish.

If you can't settle, it will eventually go before the Arbeitsgericht but generally everyone wants to settle. Make your demands reasonable (extra month(s) on the payroll with the assumption you can look for a new position or they don't complain if you call in often sick and a gut or sehr gut Arbeitszeugnis - very important to negotiate that!). They do try to make things relatively quick (since it involves peoples wages and livelihoods) and the process could be done in less than a couple months.

Bring your contract, that is almost all they need to see and/or proof they did not pay you.

 

Make sure your Arbeitszeugnis is exemplary and that it is part of the negotiation. Best to write it yourself.

 

And furthermore: never sign anything. Anything you sign could indicate to the Arbeitsamt you willing left your position. They are smart enough to start their own company, make sure they don't ef up your ALG with their stupidity.  The Kündigung has to have a reason and be clearly stated. You might be asked to accept it (which is fine) but you are not obligated to sign it. You don't have to sign anything. (unless it is to your advantage).

 

PS: I wish I was so knowledgable in some other aspect of living in Germany...

 

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2 minutes ago, mako1 said:

Sam, like Jeffo said, it is tricky. You can file the Klage without a lawyer for free. You and the firm get a letter inviting you (plural) to a negotiation session at the Arbeitsgericht. If you are wrongly fired you can only sue to get your job back (in a short window after your dismissal).

 

The firm can decide if they want to fight it (and they will definitely need a lawyer) or actually negotiate with you. If you have reasonable demands and they are not really thrilled about getting sued by one of their first employees (think of the glass door review) then you get at least a better deal.

If you reach an agreement (or you decide to move to Papau New Guineau) before the first or second negotiation or at any time you just write the Arbeitsgericht that you withdraw your complaint. Finish.

If you can't settle, it will eventually go before the Arbeitsgericht but generally everyone wants to settle. Make your demands reasonable (1 euro less than the cost of your firm hiring a lawyer sounds just about right). They do try to make things relatively quick (since it involves peoples wages and livelihoods) and the process could be done in less than a couple months.

Bring your contract, that is almost all they need to see and/or proof they did not pay you.

 

Thank you for the detailed reply. You clarified a lot of the details I wanted to know. 

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