FAQ Enforcing your rights
You can bring an action for unfair dismissal (Kündigungsschutzklage) even if you do not want to continue working for your employer and instead want to receive a severance payment (Abfindung). However, you have no ability to force this outcome, which is why an action for unfair dismissal always seeks to have your dismissal ruled to be invalid. It may be possible for you to reach an agreement with your employer on a severance payment in the course of the proceedings.
Exception: If your employment contract, or an organisation-level agreement (Betriebsvereinbarung) or collective agreement (Tarifvertrag) which applies to your employment, states that you are entitled to a severance payment in the event of your employment being terminated for operational reasons, you can apply to have your employer ordered to pay you the severance payment if you are dismissed for operational reasons.
If you cannot afford the costs of a legal dispute (litigation costs) or the costs of advice from a lawyer or can only partially afford them or only in instalments, you have the option of applying for legal aid or advisory aid. The prerequisite for this is that the legal enforcement you intend to take has a sufficient chance of success and does not appear malicious.
The application must be submitted to the court that is responsible for the case. You can find the here. In the formulation of the application and the legal action, as well as with other formalities, the help of the so-called legal application office of the court can be used. However, the legal application office cannot provide you with legal advice. The application can be made by yourself or by a lawyer of your choice. If the application for advice or legal aid is made by a lawyer, he or she can charge € 10 to 15.
If the dispute is a cross-border dispute within the EU, the application can also be submitted to the competent authority at the applicant’s place of residence or habitual residence. The responsible authorities provide a standard EU form for this and support you with the application. You can also arrange for the entire application process and the transmission of the application in all EU languages .
If legal aid is granted, you do not have to make any payments or only legally stipulated instalments for the court costs and the costs of your own lawyer, depending on your personal financial circumstances.