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I was offered a job position in Germany, this contract gives me the right to buy shares in the company (GmbH) after working for 4 years in this position.

As I understood if I quit or my employer ends my contract before 4 years, I won't be entitled to buy those shares.

Are there any options for me to protect myself from a contract termination from my employer's side?

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  • This is impossible to ascertain without knowing the terms of your contract. Also it seems very unlikely that law provides a blanket prohibition regarding termination of someone's employment. – Iñaki Viggers Nov 18 '20 at 13:02
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    Would you take the job if it didn't offer these shares? Don't consider the shares as part of your total compensation, just as a 4 year bonus. You can't protect yourself from being fired, but you can protect yourself from being fired without cause: make sure that the company has more than 10 employees at all times (cf §23 KSchG). Or the ultimate lifehack: get elected into the Betriebsrat. – amon Nov 18 '20 at 13:18
  • Is your contract fixed for less than four years? – Studoku Nov 18 '20 at 14:31
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The German law mandates minimum notice periods for work contracts. But there is no restriction on maximum notice periods, as long as the employee does not have a longer notice period than the employer (§622 BGB de|en).

So yes, in theory you could negotiate that the company is not allowed to fire you in the first 4 years. But I would find it unlikely that they would agree to that. When the stock options are really your only reason why you want to avoid getting terminated in the first 4 years, then they are more likely to be open to negotiations about the stock option clause than about the termination clause.

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If you're asking how to get a legal agreement to be completely immune to dismissal, don't. No sane person will consider it and most will wonder why you need to be unfireable and rescind the offer.

Workers rights in Germany protect against unfair dismissal. Odds are if you do lose your job it'll either be through a mistake of yours or the company suffering financial difficulties. If it's the latter, you don't want shares in them.

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