Termination Due To Poor Performance In Europe

Termination Due To Poor Performance In Europe

Termination due to poor performance is a sensitive and complex matter that employers in Europe must navigate carefully. An employee consistently failing to meet the required work standards can harm overall productivity and team morale. 

As a result, employers have no choice but to consider termination a necessary step. However, it is essential to approach performance-based dismissals fairly and legally. By following appropriate procedures and best practices, employers can address poor performance effectively while minimizing the risk of legal repercussions. 

In this guide, we will provide valuable insights for employers, managers, and HR professionals in Europe on managing termination due to performance. We will compare several nations and how they navigate the laws surrounding capability dismissals.

Termination due to poor performance can be done with various causes, each demonstrating significant breaches in behavior or competence. Employers may consider termination “for cause” based on specific categories, including:

Gross Misconduct

Deliberate and unacceptable actions that pose a risk to individuals or damage the organization’s reputation.

Stealing Company Property

Unauthorized taking or misuse of company assets, including using them for personal gain or without permission.

Inappropriate Relationships

Romantic or favoritism-based relationships that can lead to discrimination, workplace problems, and reputation damage.

Failing Alcohol or Drug Test

Violation of a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol and drugs that impairs judgment, jeopardizes work, or poses risks to clients.

Confidentiality Breach

Unauthorized disclosure of sensitive company information or client data.

Gross Insubordination

Persistent actions that defy authority, such as unauthorized absences, rudeness to superiors, or failure to comply with reasonable requests.

A Conviction For Some Crimes

Employee conviction for a criminal offense that breaches the trust placed in them and may warrant immediate dismissal.

Serious Breach Of Safety Rules

Actions that knowingly put individuals, including fellow employees, at risk and compromise workplace safety.

Now that we have a general understanding of termination due to poor performance, how do European countries differ from other countries?

Comparison With The USA

One thing that differentiates European employment and termination laws from the USA is their “employment-at-will doctrine.” Most of the world has an indefinite employment system, which protects employees from being terminated for no reason, but in the USA, that is not the case. 

Comparison With The Different European Countries


Can be contested before the court as a “socially unfair” (“sozial ungerechtfertigte”) dismissal. 

The employer is obligated to provide a severance payment (Abfertigung) if employment has lasted for three or more years.

Employees have a higher degree of protection against dismissals: women before and after childbirth, parents on parental leave, etc.

Czech Republic

Employers must give employees a chance to improve their performance. If the employee underperforms again within 12 months of the disciplinary notice, there is a valid reason for termination.

Employers must state the termination reason of the employee in writing and deliver the notice in person adhering to Czech Republic’s labor code, and the employee must agree to the termination.

Approval is required in the case of members involving a trade union.

The power of the employer to dismiss is regulated by the German Civil Code and the German Act Against Unfair Dismissal.

Termination due to poor performance commonly requires a warning letter to be given to the employee.

Employees have the option to challenge their dismissal and file a complaint in the labor court within three weeks of the termination notice.


Employers can only terminate in case of Justified Cause (“Giusta Causa”) or Justified Reason (“Giustificato Motivo”).

A written termination notice must be given to the employees, and the duration of it is established in the collective bargaining contracts.

Employees can contest their dismissal 60 days after receiving the notice.

Termination due to poor performance not only in Europe but globally needs proper preparation as well as appropriate practices. With termination due to poor performance, European countries have laws that protect employees as much as possible. Knowing the different rules, as well as a short country labor law comparison within this article gives a glimpse into their various systems.

Global People is a leading local employment solutions provider for national and international corporations and can advise and escort you in your next destination.

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Global People aims to assist its clients to fully focus on their development and success in their target destinations without having to worry about the regulation and compliance involved in the employment of their local and expat employees.


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