The judgement of the Labour Court Hanover of 1st December 2000
1. The claim is dismissed.
2. Legal costs are to be borne by the plaintiff.
3. The value of the matter in dispute amounts to DM 28,000.00.
The parties to the dispute argue about the validity of a dismissal, over further employment and about the employee pension scheme.
The 35-year-old childless plaintiff had been employed by the defendant since 1st January 1999 in the department “Press and public relations”. The defendant is a youth sports association. The plaintiff’s workplace was equipped with a computer with access to the internet. The plaintiff also had a possibility to place web sites in the internet.
When the defendant accessed the computer at the plaintiff’s workplace the defendant found explicit data. In an in-depth control 2790 pictures and video data with pornographic content amounting to 296.63 MB were found on the hard disk of the plaintiff’s computer. The data had been saved to the disk during the plaintiff’s working hours. The plaintiff admitted to having put the home page (…) on the internet and to having saved the pornographic data to the hard disk. As a consequence the defendant terminated the employment agreement without notice for grave cause.
The court dismissed the claim since it was in part inadmissible and in part unfounded.
In the court’s opinion, the defendant had numerous relevant reasons for an extraordinary termination of the employment agreement. The plaintiff had infringed his duties by for example using the computer for private purposes, also during his working hours, downloading numerous pornographic photos from the internet and saving them to the defendant’s hard disk, taking advantage of his internet access to compose a web page with sexual contents. Although the above infringements vary as to their seriousness, together they constitute an important ground within the meaning of § 626 (1) of the Civil Code, enabling the defendant to the extraordinary dismissal.