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2 Feb 2022 Dismissal letter incomplete, instant dismissal not legally valid

On 1 April 2019, the employee entered the service of Company B on the basis of an employment contract for an indefinite period in the position of industrial cleaner/general services employee. On 9 June 2021, the employee was summarily dismissed by letter. The employee asked the Subdistrict Court to annul the instant dismissal. The subdistrict court considered, inter alia, that the letter of dismissal was incomplete and that the grounds put forward in it could not support the immediate dismissal.

The notification of the dismissal fixes the reason for the dismissal; now that the employee was notified of the dismissal in a letter dated 9 June 2021, the contents of that letter are decisive for the assessment of the instant dismissal. According to the letter of dismissal, Company B summarily dismissed the employee for (i) repeatedly refusing to work and (ii) providing false information regarding employability. It also follows from the explanation in the letter of dismissal that Company B accuses employee of repeatedly "making excuses" in order to avoid having to go to Tata Steel for an entrance test and that employee did not attend an interview on 25 May 2021.

The Whatsapp correspondence shows that the employee repeatedly made it known to Company B that he was unable to take the entrance examination at Tata Steel due to illness. In the opinion of the Subdistrict Court, when Company B had doubts about the employee's illness, it should have had the employee called in by the company doctor to determine whether the employee was actually unfit for work due to illness. It cannot be ruled out that employee was actually ill and as a result could not take the entrance exam and could not attend an interview at Company B. In that case, it is a (repeated) case of (repeated) illness. In that case, there is no question of (repeated) refusal to work. Company B states that employee was invited by letter of 12 May 2021 for a consultation with the company doctor on 28 May 2021 and did not appear. The employee disputes that he received an invitation from the company doctor. In the opinion of the Subdistrict Court, it has not been sufficiently established that the employee received an invitation for the consultation with the company doctor on 28 May 2021. It has not become apparent that this letter was sent by registered mail or (also) by e-mail. Moreover, it would have been obvious that if, as Company B stated, the employee had been invited and had not shown up at the company doctor's on 28 May 2021, Company B would have contacted the employee and re-invited him for a consultation in the (very) near future. It has not been stated or demonstrated that this happened. In view of this, and in the opinion of the Subdistrict Court, the fact that the company doctor did not assess the employee's illness and fitness for work or unfitness for work should be at Company B's risk and expense.

As far as 'providing false information concerning employability' is concerned, in the opinion of the Subdistrict Court, it is not clear from the letter of dismissal what exactly Company B is accusing the employee of. For this reason alone, this accusation cannot (also) support the immediate dismissal. The foregoing leads to the conclusion that the reasons stated by Company B in the dismissal letter - repeated refusal to work and giving false information about employability - cannot be regarded as an urgent reason for instant dismissal.

Company B has argued that the instant dismissal was an accumulation of (other) numerous incidents and warnings. This is of no avail to her. As considered above, the notice of dismissal fixes the reason(s) for the dismissal. It is not clear from the letter of dismissal that, apart from the repeated refusal to work and giving false information about employability, other incidents and warnings formed the basis for the immediate dismissal. It follows from the above that, according to the court, the instant dismissal was not legally valid (judgment).

Would you like to know more about this judgment or about summary dismissal? Our employment lawyers will be happy to help.

SPEE advocaten & mediation Maastricht


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