Threat to employer, summary dismissal?


Threat to employer: shut up or I will rip your head off

Diefstal supermarkt ontslag advocaat Amsterdam

A Dutch employee was summarily dismissed for threatening his employer. In a conversation he said: “Shut up or I will rip your head off”. He never apologized. The employee felt that the threat was an emotional expression. A long emotional conversation had preceded it. The employer considered this threat so inappropriate and serious that immediate dismissal was deemed appropriate as a sanction. Our employment law attorney in Amsterdam, Mr. Paul Snijders, specialized in dismissal, explains why the dismissal was not justified after all.

All circumstances of the case in giving instant dismissal for threat

All things considered, the subdistrict court ruled that the summary dismissal for threatening the employer was not validly granted, so it will be annulled. Such a summary dismissal is only legally valid if there is an urgent reason for it according to employment law in The Netherlands (Section 7:677 (1) of the Dutch Civil Code). These are such acts, characteristics or conduct on the part of the employee, as a result of which the employment contract cannot continue. If the employer gives such a dismissal, all circumstances of the case must be considered.

Transgressive behavior and serious threat to employer

The words ” Shut up or I’ll rip your head off your torso” are, according to the Dutch judge, a statement that can be qualified as transgressive and it is conceivable that the employer also interpreted this as a serious threat. To that extent, it could be concluded that there was an urgent reason.

However, the context of the circumstances of the case in the threat was important in this case. Therefore, the employer would have been better advised, although not required, to first hear the employee prior to dismissal. Employer chose not to do so. This was at the employer’s risk.

ADD and recurrent depression in the employee

It was in fact revealed that the employee had been diagnosed with ADD and recurrent depression, and was prescribed Dexamphetamine for it. This medication affected his behavior, making him more prone to anger and irritability. The psychiatrist had noted increasing agitation and irritability with escalating verbal impulse breakthroughs. The medication had contributed to his outburst. The employer had not sufficiently studied the situation of the employee, who was going through a very difficult period.

Added to this was his disappointment in the lack of contact with the employer, which he wanted to convey in the interview. He had sent several app messages that had gone unanswered. This made him angry and he expressed this by making the statement in question, which was taken as a serious threat.

No question of an urgent reason for dismissal in case of threat: excuse not necessary

Against this background, the subdistrict court held that there was no urgent reason. The fact that the employee did not immediately retract his words and/or make excuses does not change this. The instant dismissal was annulled.

This ruling shows, that not only the urgent reason that may be sufficient for a summary dismissal must be considered, but also the circumstances of the case. This case involved a condition of the employee, which the employer had not sufficiently considered. Other circumstances might include the length of employment, the way the employee performed the work or the employee’s age and the serious consequences of a summary dismissal.

Contact attorney employment law Amsterdam about summary dismissal in The Netherlands for threat

Looking for commitment and direct, personal contact with an experienced employment law specialist in Amsterdam? Call our specialized employment and dismissal lawyers for questions and legal advice on employment law, such as summary dismissal for threats.

Call Now Button