Termination by a subdisctrict court judge

Since July 1 2015 the dismissal law has changed drastically. One example is that since that date the subdistrict court judge, at the request of the employer, may terminate an employment agreement in case of:

  • Long lasting sickness absence (< 2 years);
  • A disfunctioning employee;
  • Culpable behaviour of the employee;
  • A disturbed employment relation;
  • Refusal of the dismissal permit by the UWV (Dutch Employee Insurance Agency).

An employee can also file a request for termination of the employment agreement. This can be done when an employee cannot be expected to let the employment agreement continue and should terminate the agreement at short notice.

1. Procedure

The employer can start a dismissal procedure by filing a petition for termination of the employment agreement before a subdistrict court judge. The subdisctrict court sends a copy of the petition to the employee and then the employee gets time to respond by filing a defence statement. In the defence statement an employee can explain his/her side of the story. The employee can also declare why transitional compensation and/or a fair compensation should be paid by the employer. After this the parties are invited for an oral hearing. During the hearing parties can explain their position again.

2. Substantive grounds

The subdistrict court judge only approves the request for termination if there are substanive grounds. These include:

  • Improper behaviour (e.g. violating a duty of confidentiality, lying or deceiving);
  • Changing circumstances, like a disturbed employment relation or improper functioning;
  • When an employee files a request for termination, substantive grounds include: improper treatment of the employee by the employer or bullying by colleagues.

3. Transitional compensation

Since July 1 2015, an employee in principle has a right to a transitional compensation when the employment agreement is terminated after a request by the employer, unless in matters of serious or culpable actions or omissions by the employee. If an employee files a request, the employer only has to pay a transitional compensation in matters of serious culpable actions or omissions by the employer.

An employee has a right to a transitional compensation if the employment has lasted at least 24 months. The transitional compensation is calculated on basis of the length of the employment, the age of the employee and the personal circumstances of the employee. For this last point, one could think of his or her chances on the labour market.

4. Decision

The subdistrict court judge determines in the decision whether the employment agreement is terminated and whether a fair compensation is granted. Besides this the subdistrict court judge also decides on the termination date of the employment agreement. For this last point the judge takes the period of notice for termination into account, after deduction of the period of the procedure. The minimum period between the decision of termination and the end of the employment agreement is at least one month. An exception on this rule is serious culpable conduct by the employee.

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