Desiree Fixler: The sacked head of sustainability at DWS will not appeal
Frankfurt It has been decided: Desiree Fixler accepts her defeat at the Frankfurt Labor Court against her former employer DWS. There, the former head of sustainability had filed a lawsuit against her expulsion – and was dismissed. The main issue in the dispute was whether DWS effectively announced the termination within Fixler’s six-month probationary period or afterwards. The labor court sided with DWS.
In the hearing at the end of January, Judge Ilka Heinemeyer made it clear that the court was guided by the employment contract regulations. The fact was that Fixler signed her employment contract on September 14, 2020. On March 9, 2021, her job was finally terminated, i.e. within the six-month period after she did not want to accept a severance payment that was offered to her.
The court did not accept Fixler’s argument that she had already worked for DWS well before that and that she gave lectures at events, had access to confidential information and wrote numerous emails for her employer. As a result, the court dismissed the lawsuit.
“We decided not to contest the verdict,” Fixler’s lawyer Claudia von Gersdorff told Handelsblatt. Her client is very disappointed with the German judiciary and has now decided to continue pursuing possible claims in the USA. There it is assumed that Fixler enjoys special protection.
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As a so-called whistleblower, she pointed out misconduct by DWS on the subject of sustainable investment – initially internally. When DWS did not want to hear her, she reported her suspicions to investigative authorities in the USA and Germany.
Is DWS greenwashing?
Fixler accused DWS of presenting itself as a leader in sustainable investing, when she realized it was not. DWS rejects the greenwashing allegations. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the US Department of Justice and the German financial regulator Bafin are examining the case.
Fixler is apparently still determined to continue the fight against her former employer. According to her lawyer, she now wants to convert the dispute lost in Germany before the labor court. If the numerous confidential e-mails did not establish an official employment relationship, DWS had violated data protection regulations.
The case of JP Morgan shows that violations of data protection can be expensive, especially in the USA. There, employees had violated the compliance rules by conducting calls on their private mobile phones using WhatsApp or by writing to a personal email address.
The authorities complained because they could not check this communication. JP Morgan was fined $125 million by the SEC and $75 million by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
More: Scandals are still dangerous for DWS boss Wöhrmann