Human dignity over freedom of speech

Human dignity over freedom of speech

Judge at the Federal Court of Arrest © dpa

Verdict reached: The Federal Constitutional Court considers a dismissal because of a grossly inhumane statement to be legal. The claim asserted by the complainant for a free right of expression is secondary to this.

A man who mocked a black colleague in a works council meeting with monkey noises has rightly been fired. The labor courts correctly classified the statement as inhumane discrimination not covered by freedom of expression, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled. The complaint of the man remained unsuccessful, as was communicated on Tuesday in Karlsruhe. (Az.: 1 BvR 2727/19)

"Expression fundamentally disparaging"

In the meeting there had been a dispute about the handling of an EDP system. At this, the plaintiff said to his colleague "Ugah, Ugah!" while the latter called him a "hustler". As a result, the man, who had already been given a relevant warning once before, was extraordinarily terminated. He sued before the labor courts in Cologne and the Federal Labor Court, everywhere in vain.

His interception complaint did not actually meet the formal requirements, but the judges nevertheless combined the rejection with an evaluation of the content. Accordingly, the restriction of freedom of speech by the termination is justified in this case. The conclusion that "there was no mere crude insult, but that the statement was fundamentally disparaging" was not objectionable.

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