A summary dismissal in The Netherlands must always be given without delay, i.e. immediately. This means that the Dutch employer should not leave too much time between discovering the reason for the summary dismissal and actually issuing the summary dismissal. However, sometimes a dismissal can be based on multiple reasons. In this article, our employment law attorney from Amsterdam, mr. Krystle Aaron-de Bies, explains how an immediate summary dismissal should be given when there are compound grounds.
Compound urgent grounds for dismissal
A Dutch employer may only terminate an employment contract if there are reasonable grounds for doing so. The Dutch Supreme Court has ruled that when a summary dismissal is based on compound urgent grounds, i.e. several grounds for dismissal at the same time, the court must examine when a suspicion arose with respect to all relevant grounds. It must also consider whether, at that time, sufficient diligence was exercised in conducting the investigation and issuing the dismissal.
Acted expeditiously in conducting investigation and dismissal
The specific case involved a case where the employer became suspicious that the employee was involved in irregularities. The employer’s lawyer had investigated the merits. This investigation revealed several facts that prompted the employer to summarily dismiss the employee. But was the dismissal still immediate?
Was there sufficient diligence with respect to that combination?
The Supreme Court ruled that the court must then test the following points:
- was the dismissal given without delay;
- whether the employer conducted or ordered a sufficiently energetic investigation;
- whether the employer informed himself sufficiently energetically of the findings of the investigation, including interim findings; and
- whether the employer, after becoming aware of them, proceeded with sufficient diligence to proceed with the instant dismissal.
- In assessing the latter, the court may also take into account whether the interim findings of the investigation warrant further investigation before proceeding with the immediate dismissal.
Insofar as the employer has based the dismissal on the facts that have come to light as a composite urgent reason, the court will have to examine whether the employer acted sufficiently energetically with respect to that composite reason.
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