I'm currently working for a company in Germany and the notice period is two weeks. I sent my resignation via E-mail.

They told me after 3 days that they did not accept it because I need to send it via writing in a letter through the post and that it needs to be signed!

How should I proceed and should I hire a lawyer?

  • 2
    What does your employment contract say about resignation? How do you know the notice period is 2 weeks?
    – user18924
    Aug 30, 2018 at 14:56
  • 1
    I doubt it, but does your contract specify the requirement that it be via written paper, via Post, and signed? If not, the employer is being too bureaucratic and vexatious. No employer will have a more effective "grasp" of the notification that you no longer will be there simply because your notification is in physical paper delivered by the mailman. Aug 30, 2018 at 14:57
  • 3
    @IñakiViggers On the other hand, this sounds exactly like the sort of thing you'd need to do in France, and some Germans like to think they're more fastidiously bureaucratic than the French (though the ones I've known to live in both countries hand the title to France without reservation). To cancel my monthly cell phone contract in France I had to type up a formal letter and send it to them via certified mail. Aug 30, 2018 at 16:29
  • 1
    @IñakiViggers the statutory requirement specifically excludes electronic mail; see the answer.
    – phoog
    Sep 5, 2018 at 15:56
  • @phoog Thanks for the heads up. I'm surprised to learn that. I would have expected German law to decide this type of issues somewhat in line with [U.S.] case Firefighter's Institute v. City of St. Louis, 220 F.3d 898, 903 (2000) (ruling out a method of service "[when] the court cannot be assured that delivery has occurred"). Sep 5, 2018 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


This is actually required by german Law. Specifically § 623 BGB says:

Die Beendigung von Arbeitsverhältnissen durch Kündigung oder Auflösungsvertrag bedürfen zu ihrer Wirksamkeit der Schriftform; die elektronische Form ist ausgeschlossen.

Translation by me:

Resignations and ending-contracts to end an employment are only valid in written form; an electronic form is not possible.

The definition of the written form is in § 126 BGB. It basically says, that either a signature is needed or a notary has to vouch for it.

So if you are actually employed under german law you have to send them a signed letter. How that letter arrives at the employer is not specified. I would imagine most resignation letters to be personally handed in.

  • 1
    It sounds the only part that is still questionable is whether the letter must be sent through the post instead of hand-delivered.
    – Justin
    Sep 4, 2018 at 17:06
  • Regarding the method of delivery, section 132 specifies that it should conform to the Zivilprozeßordnung. Does that have nothing to say on the question?
    – phoog
    Sep 5, 2018 at 16:02
  • I am not sure that §132 is relevant (but IANAL). I think that section is about cases where usual means of delivery are not possible and an official is tasked with the delivery. That would only be relevant in this case if the employer refuses to accept a personally handed-in letter or claims to not have received the letter by mail. Here an actually lawyer talks about resignations. That article explicitly mentions personal delivery, mail and registered mail.
    – Pathim
    Sep 6, 2018 at 7:17
  • Proof of the time of arrival (registered letter) is advised. An e-mail can inform beforehand, with a notice that a signed letter is no the way, but arrival time proves if notice conditions of the contract is fulfilled. May 17, 2019 at 11:43

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