Summary dismissal in The Netherlands if the employee takes property belonging to the employer.


Diefstal supermarkt ontslag advocaat AmsterdamA summary dismissal in The Netherlands may be given if the employee, in violation of the rules, takes property belonging to the employer. But does this also apply if it has become clear that a bottle taken away was not the property of the employer (Jumbo) at the time? Our Dutch labor law attorney in Amsterdam, Paul Snijders explains this based on a ruling from the Rotterdam District Court.

Found object: property belonging to the employer?

The employee had indicated that the bottle of Bacardi rum was a found object, destined to be thrown away. After investigation, it was found that the employee had taken the bottle of Bacardi rum home with him, without permission from supervisors. The bottle was in the office of the Jumbo team leader. For this reason, the employee had been summarily dismissed.

Instant dismissal for theft

The dismissal letter stated that the urgent reason for the dismissal was that the employee had allegedly taken away property belonging to Jumbo without paying for it. It later turned out that the bottle was not Jumbo property. Nevertheless, even though the bottle of Bacardi rum did not belong to Jumbo, the subdistrict court found the summary dismissal to be legally valid.

Dutch supermarket company regulations

The employee had said that she thought that for the bottle of Bacardi rum the procedure for a return product should have been followed, which, however, she did not. The employee had also said during an interview that she was “obviously” familiar with the Jumbo company regulations and was also aware of the procedure to be followed when a product is returned.

However, according to the judge, the employee had thus violated Jumbo’s known rules by taking the bottle of Bacardi home with her. She had also not given a plausible or justifiable reason for this, according to the judge. The judge did not find it plausible that she took the bottle with her for ‘safety reasons’.

Thieving employees get fired

The subdistrict court agreed with Jumbo that it must use these kinds of rules to guard against ‘thieving’ employees. In doing so, according to its company regulations, Jumbo uses a broad definition for the terms theft, fraud and embezzlement. The subdistrict court concluded that the immediate dismissal was therefore legally valid, even though the bottle was not the property of the supermarket at the time.

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