Unjustified suspension of director
A Dutch Federation had suspended its technical director. The director disagreed and went to court. In this article, our Amsterdam-based labor lawyer, Ms. Krystle Aaron-de Bies, discusses the judgment in which the judge had to rule on this suspension.
CLA Sport: Urgent Reason for Suspension
For this suspension, the CLA Sport was applicable. For a suspension, this collective agreement in The Netherlands refers to the criterion for instant dismissal from regular employment law. Therefore, an urgent reason is required for a suspension.
Complaints about the functioning of the technical director
When our Dutch labor law specialist studied the ruling, it turned out that in the Dutch rowing team there had been complaints about the functioning of the technical director for some time. Later, this also appeared from an anonymous survey. The director indicated that he wanted to do something with this criticism and was open to criticism. The rowing federation also had an independent report drawn up, in which the technical director was investigated.
This report led to the immediate suspension of the director.
The report: no representative research, no contradictory information
The Dutch judge then ruled that this employee should never have been suspended based on the report. The criticisms of the report were as follows:
- no representative investigation took place;
- there was no adversarial process;
- those with a complaint had heard about it; and
- the investigation bureau had a steering role.
The employee in question was not heard prior to the suspension and the report was not sent to the technical director until after his suspension. Therefore, given the strict criteria of summary dismissal and the poor investigation, the judge found that the employee had been wrongfully suspended.
Dual responsibilities: also accountability to the employee
The Rowing Association indicated that it no longer had confidence in the technical director. The federation must strive for a safe sports climate for the athletes. However, the judge slapped the board on the wrist. After all, the board is not only responsible to the athletes, but also to the employee.
The judge therefore ruled that the director should be allowed back at work.
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