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FAU Berlin vs Curalie GmbH

Published on Jan 13, 2022 Tags: ,
The digital health care platform Curalie GmbH is terminating one of our members’ job. With the aid of the union, our member has filed a claim for wrongful termination and will proceed with the court date even though Curalie GmbH has offered a settlement.

Curalie GmbH has to know that wrongful termination is unacceptable. Especially because they may otherwise decide to do the same with other workers in the future. Curalie develops health apps as a part of Fresenius, a big med tech company.

Our member wants to confirm to Curalie GmbH that non-Germans also have legal recourse, even if it's not their legal system of origin. Additionally, through this case our member hopes to share this experience with other tech workers and help push against the hyper individualistic environment fostered by the industry.

Wrongful termination

On the job, our member received very little feedback in the last year, but the feedback they did get was always positive. To our member’s suprise, Curalie GmbH gave them a termination letter without a reason for termination, with the wrong end date, and without a work exemption.

The company provided very little information and our member had to chase after them to get them to clarify. For example, their supervisor first implied that our member wouldn’t have to continue to log in for work after receiving their termination. Then, a colleague informed them that the same supervisor had told them that our member would continue to work for a few more months. It took a lot of determination on the part of our member and quite a bit of back and forth with the CEO’s assistant to get clear answers. Our member was also instructed at the very last minute to use up all of their vacation days immediately.

Update: Result of the conciliation hearing on January 13, 2022

The company sent a lawyer to the conciliation hearing, who could only cite “performance and behavioral reasons” as justification for the termination, without being specific. Yet last year, supervisors had positively evaluated the member's performance and there were no warnings! The impression is rather that the new supervisor has lost track of his direct reports.

Ultimately, we reached a settlement whereby our member, instead of being dismissed at the end of January, will be paid for 2.5 months' leave of absence and will then receive a severance payment amounting to 2 months' salary.

In German labor courts, it is customary to base the amount of severance pay on the length of service. With just over two years, our member was employed for a comparatively long time in the context of a tech startup and contributed relevantly to the value of the company and its product. However, the standard compensation would have been only one month's salary. Therefore, the judge was briefly stunned that we thought more was appropriate.

With four months' salary in the settlement, our member has some breathing room to look at new jobs. Maybe the next company will manage to coordinate its developers. And otherwise, we as FAU are happy to be at it again.

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Click here to get to the FAU Berlin's English membership formThe FAU Berlin is an independent grassroots union. It is part of the German Free Workers' Union (FAU) federation. Join us, take part, get active.

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FAU Berlin is currently restructuring! This means that we are reducing some of our public activities, to focus on our strategy for the future. Throughout this time we are still providing support to our membership. If you are a member and need assistance, don't hesitate to contact your section/workplace group, or drop into our open Lokal on Fridays.

Intro and advice
Introductory seminar: FAU – How does it work? - Cancelled until further notice.
Open FAU office: Every Friday, 5:00–8:00 PM.
union help desk: always on the 2. and 4. Friday of the month, 6:30 – 7:30 PM.
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Tenant rights help desk: Cancelled until further notice.
Advice for worker and business collectives: See the advice page (german) of the union coop // federation.
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Name: Allgemeines Syndikat Berlin
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