Labour conflict and disciplinary measures in The Netherlands


Labour conflict lawyer in Amsterdam – workplace conflicts: what disciplinary measures are possible?

Labour conflict lawyer in Amsterdam: what disciplinary measures are possible?

Our labour lawyer in Amsterdam Paul Snijders is specialized in labour disputes, disciplinary measures and dismissal.

In the Netherlands, an employee cannot just be suspended or dismissed because of workplace conflicts or disagreements at work.

There must be a good, reasonable cause for it as described in Dutch law.

Therefore, in the event of a conflict, an employer also has the choice of disciplinary measures other than dismissal, such as suspension or an official warning to resolve it.

Disciplinary measures in case of an employment conflict: suspension from duty

Suspension of an employee in the event of an employment conflict is a severe disciplinary measure that involves temporarily removing an employee from work. Because suspension is a drastic measure, an employer must act carefully in its preparation and implementation, including by:

  • having a good reason,
  • communicating the reason for suspension in writing
  • explaining the further procedure
  • indicating how long the suspension will last and what the employee can expect afterwards.

Many collective agreements state that a suspension may not last more than 14 days. Sometimes there is no longer any reason for suspension. The suspension must then be lifted immediately, if necessary by court order. Suspension from work is a temporary measure in a labor conflict.

Suspension of salary as a disciplinary measure in the event of illness or refusal to work

In principle, a sick employee is entitled to continued payment of wages, 100 or 70%. This is different if an employee does not comply with the reasonable verification requirements regarding the provision of information during illness. If the sick employee does not cooperate, the employer may, after a warning, suspend payment of wages.

Suspension of salary during illness in The Netherlands

In certain cases a sick employee is no longer entitled to salary at all:

  • if the employee refuses to comply with the reintegration obligations;
  • if he impedes himself in the recovery;
  • if he himself has caused the disability / illness;
  • if he refuses to perform suitable work;
  • if he refuses to cooperate in drawing up/evaluating/ adjusting an action plan.

If the employee still fulfills his obligations, the employer must resume the obligation to pay wages from that moment on.

Changing employment conditions as a disciplinary measure

An employer may also take disciplinary measures. These include withdrawing certain benefits not provided for in the employment contract, withholding a promotion or pay rise, or not renewing a fixed-term contract. In certain cases, an employer may demote an employee in function (demotion). Sometimes an employer may also invoke a contractual penalty clause.

Often the employer first gives an official warning, which is then included in the personnel file.

The District Court of Breda has ruled that the court cannot force an employer to withdraw an official warning because there is no legal basis for doing so.

Right to rectification: removing an incorrect warning from the personnel file

However, based on the right to correction, an employee can request that a warning be removed from the file.

Dismissal in the event of an employment dispute

In the event of an employment dispute, an employment contract can be terminated by means of a settlement agreement (vso) or termination agreement.

Immediate dismissal is only possible in dismissal law in the event of serious misconduct (constituting an urgent reason).

With this form of immediate dismissal, there is no entitlement to unemployment benefit.

Dissolution of an employment contract by the Dutch subdistrict court

The subdistrict court can dissolve the employment contract at the request of one of the parties in the event of an employment dispute. If the judge agrees with the requesting party, the employment contract is terminated. This is possible on the following grounds:

    1. If the UWV has refused permission for dismissal;
    2. Regularly being ill;
    3. Dysfunctioning;
    4. Culpable action;
    5. Refusal to perform work due to an objection of conscience;
    6. Disturbed working relationship;
    7. Other grounds (for a limited group such as soccer coaches) or a combination of grounds.

Unfairly laid off?

If you believe you have been unfairly laid off, you should contact WS Lawyers in Amsterdam.

Contact a labor conflict lawyer: specialist in Dutch labor law

Our labor conflict lawyers in Amsterdam specialize in labor cases and provide legal advice in case of a labor dispute in labor law. Please contact our dismissal law specialist in Amsterdam mr. P.Chr. Snijders for more information or legal advice in case of an employment conflict or disciplinary measure.


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