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21 Dec 2021 Immediate dismissal for acting contrary to house rules

Employee is employed by Ikea. The employment contract with the employee is subject to the IKEA collective labour agreement. Furthermore, Ikea employees are bound by the IKEA House Rules. Article 2.1 of the House Rules stipulates that every employee is obliged to clock in with a staff pass at the beginning and end of working hours. According to the employer, the employee repeatedly failed to do this correctly and was therefore immediately dismissed. Does this instant dismissal stand?

On 5 December 2020, the employee was scheduled to work from 17:00. He clocked in at 16:57 that day and then went to eat in the staff restaurant. On 10 December 2020, the employee met with IKEA. During this conversation, IKEA issued an official warning to employee because on 5 December 2020 employee acted in breach of his obligations arising from the employment contract and the house rules. On 12 June 2021, the employee was scheduled to work from 10:00. Employee started work late that day, clocking in at 10:35am. IKEA gave the employee a second warning and informed him that the next time he breached the house rules, IKEA would terminate his employment contract. On Saturday 24 July 2021, the employee was scheduled from 13:15 to 20:00.

Employee clocked in at 12:27 pm on that day and subsequently consumed a meal in the staff restaurant without paying for it. On 28 July 2021, the parties discussed clocking in too early and eating without paying on 24 July 2021.

In a letter dated 2 August 2021, Ikea terminated the employment contract with employee with immediate effect for an urgent reason. Employee requests Ikea to order him to pay the transitional allowance, a fixed fee and a fair compensation.

Employee was warned by Ikea for clocking in too early/incorrectly. Within its company, Ikea has made it clear to the employees by means of the house rules that they must clock in and out in accordance with the actual times worked. The employee is also familiar with these house rules. Nevertheless, even after a warning pointing out far-reaching consequences for his employment and the second warning verbally informing him that his employment contract would be terminated in case of a subsequent breach of the house rules, the employee failed to comply.

IKEA also accuses the employee of repeatedly (and in any event on 24 and 28 July 2021) consuming free meals, to which the employee is not entitled under the collective labour agreement. Based on these considerations, the sub-district court ruled that repeatedly eating a free meal in breach of the house rules also constituted an urgent reason.

According to the judge, it follows from the above considerations that the instant dismissal was justified. It follows that the employee is not entitled to the fixed and fair compensation he requested. The employee had provided Ikea with an urgent reason, either intentionally or through fault, to terminate the employment contract immediately. Ikea is therefore entitled to fixed compensation. This compensation is awarded by the subdistrict court. You can read the full judgment here.

Would you like to receive more information about this judgment, or do you have any other employment law questions, please contact one of the employment lawyers of SPEE advocaten & mediation.

SPEE advocaten & mediation Maastricht


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