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One of your employees is refusing work?

If so, you can issue the employee a written warning. MyRight explains what the warning must include.

The answer in detail

Tips if one of your employees is refusing work

What is refusal to work?

In general, as the the employer, you can assign your employees all work that is in line with their employment contract, performance specifications, etc. If nothing else has been agreed, your employees must also carry out work that could normally be completed by other employees at the same company. This means their work also includes related secondary duties. For example, in case of doubt, your salesperson can also carry out light cleaning tasks, your truck driver can be assigned minor repairs, but your commercial employee cannot be given household tasks. A refusal to work applies when your employee refuses to perform their work.

Generally, a refusal to work is grounds for termination. However, before you dismiss the employee without notice, you must issue them a warning.

The warning is not governed by law, which is why general rules can hardly be made in this regard. You also do not have to threaten to automatically dismiss the employee without notice. It must be clear to the employee from the warning that they should expect summary dismissal if they refuse work again.

The following points must be addressed in the warning:

  1. Objection: You must explain to the employee what has happened and what your employee has done wrong regarding their work performance.
  2. Note: You must point out to the employee that a refusal to work will not be tolerated in the future.
  3. Notification: With the warning, you must also notify the employee of the steps you will initiate if they again refuse to perform their work.

If you have to send your employee a warning, it is advisable to do so in writing in a registered letter. This way, you can be sure that they have received the warning and you have proof it was issued. It is best to send the warning by no later than two to three work days after the refusal to work, otherwise the warning will lose significance. However, there are no legal deadlines that have to be observed.

We have created a sample letter and explain in detail how a written warning can be structured and what it should include. In our second document, you will find more legal information regarding termination without notice.

Important documents
allgemeiner rechtlicher Hinweis Verwarnung
Vorlage Verwarnung Arbeitsverweigerung