Immediate dismissal: accusation of sexual harassment and vandalism

An employee is summarily dismissed after destroying lockers of employees who have accused him of sexual harassment.
Will this summary dismissal stand up in court?

On 25 February 2022, employees at ICLH reported sexually harassing remarks by the employee.

Subsequently, on 1 March 2022, ICLH asked the employees in question whether they wished to file a formal report, which they did.

On the same day, ICLH discussed the matter with the employee concerned. The Employee concerned has denied the allegations.

He did acknowledge that he made a sexual noise in the presence of the employee and another colleague.

In that conversation, ICLH indicated that they would consider the next steps to take.

The employee was then released from work with retention of salary. On 3 March 2022, a follow-up interview took place. ICLH presented the employee with two options: either the parties concluded a settlement agreement or legal proceedings were instituted.

After this meeting, the employee drove to the ICLH branch in Waalwijk. He entered the branch and destroyed/damaged the lockers of the employees who had complained about him.

ICLH heard the employee on 4 March 2022. He was then summarily dismissed on the same date. The employee claims compensation for unlawful termination.

In view of all the circumstances of the case, the subdistrict court found that ICLH was right to give the instant dismissal.

Even if the employee was of the opinion that he had been unjustly addressed by ICLH regarding his alleged transgressive behaviour towards the employee and was therefore angry, as he stated during the hearing, he should never have acted in the way he did by driving to the shop floor after the interview at headquarters and destroying/damaging the lockers there.

The fact that ICLH's staff handbook does not provide for immediate dismissal in the event of intentional destruction of ICLH property is not a requirement for this.

As ICLH was right in dismissing the employee, there is no scope for granting the fixed and reasonable compensation requested by the employee. These claims are dismissed.

You can read the judgment here.

Would you like to know more about this judgment or about the possibilities within the framework of instant dismissal? SPEE advocaten & mediation are happy to help!

SPEE advocaten & mediation Maastricht