Dismissal of employment contract because employee did not cooperate during illness

In this first week of the new year, we are dealing with a case in which an employee, after reporting sick in June of last year, did not react to anything and did not cooperate with anything in the framework of his reintegration. Are you curious to know how this case fits together and what the subdistrict court thought about it?

On 28 June 2021, the employee reported sick to his employer. The employer subsequently contacted the employee on a number of occasions via WhatsApp, which messages, according to the two blue ticks noted on them, were received and opened by the employee without any reaction from him.

The company doctor called in by the employer after reporting the employee off sick called him in for a consultation on 9 July 2021 at 16:00, but without any notice, the employee did not turn up. In a letter dated 12 July 2021, the employer informed the employee that no contact was possible from the company doctor and that salary had therefore been suspended.

On 21 September 2021, the employer requested an expert opinion from the UWV concerning the employee's (statutory) reintegration efforts. The UWV reported that an expert opinion was not possible as the employee was not responding to the UWV's calls. The employer requested that the employment contract be dissolved.

It is undisputed that, since reporting sick on 28 June 2021, employee has not responded in any way to messages from his employer, the company doctor and the UWV.

Consequently, it has not been possible to determine, along the applicable lines, whether the employee's inability to work was related to any illness (incapacity for work) that he had claimed and whether, on whose part and what efforts to reintegrate him were appropriate.

The resulting impasse in the employment relationship should, as the employer rightly argues, be regarded as the result of serious culpable acts or omissions on the part of the employee. In the absence of any defence on this point, there is nothing further to be said. The request to dissolve the employment contract can therefore be honoured in the primary way desired, i.e. with immediate effect and without entitlement to transitional compensation. If you want to read the entire judgment, you can do so here.

Would you like to know more about this judgment or about the possibilities which exist when an employee does not cooperate with reintegration? The lawyers at SPEE advocaten & mediation will be happy to assist you.

SPEE advocaten & mediation Maastricht