Personnel: How to dismiss employees with immediate effect?

When can you dismiss an employee with immediate effect? How do you do this? And what happens if the employee challenges the dismissal?

Termination of employment contract
Employers can terminate employment contracts in different ways:

  • Upon permission from the UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) because of commercial reasons or long-term disability
  • Via a request for termination submitted to the subdistrict court because of any of the other reasons
  • By mutual consent
  • Termination during the trial period, and
  • Via dismissal with immediate effect.

Conditions for dismissal with immediate effect
For dismissal with immediate effect there must be an urgent cause. The dismissal must take place immediately, with immediate notification of the urgent cause.

Urgent cause
The employer can dismiss an employee with immediate effect – without observing the applicable notice period – if there is an urgent cause. Examples of urgent causes include, for instance, theft of property of the employer or acts of violence. In certain cases, use of alcohol can also form an urgent reason.

Immediate termination
Instant dismissal must be effected immediately. This means, after the discovery of the urgent cause the employee must be dismissed as quickly as possible. The dismissal can be effected several days after the discovery of the urgent cause, if it can be established that this period was necessary for the investigation of the urgent cause, hearing the employee, internal consultations or seeking legal advice.

Immediate notification
The dismissal must be effected with immediate notification of the underlying urgent cause. The employer must let the employee know as soon as possibly why he is dismissed. This is usually done by sending a detailed written motivation to the employee after the dismissal has been communicated orally.

Ultimate remedy
Dismissal with immediate effect can have far-reaching consequences for the employee. He will not only lose his job, but also his entitlement to transitional compensation and unemployment benefits. Dismissal with immediate effect is therefore also called an “ultimate remedy”, which will only be justified in serious cases.

What does the court consider?
Because of the far-reaching consequences, the dismissal is often challenged by the employee. The employee can challenge the dismissal with immediate effect by requesting the subdistrict court to declare void the dismissal within two months after the dismissal.

In potential proceedings the court will consider whether there is an urgent cause and whether the dismissal was effected immediately and with immediate notification of the urgent cause. In addition, the circumstances of the case will be considered, such as:

  • The length of the employment
  • The functioning of the employee during the employment
  • The age of the employee, and
  • The consequences of the dismissal for the employee.

Proceedings on dismissal with immediate effect can take a long time, which creates an uncertain situation for the employer. In fact, the court can even declare void the dismissal just like that after years of legal proceedings. The employer then has to readmit the employer to his activities when his former position has been taken by a new employee. So it is useful to terminate the employment contract conditionally.

More information
This newsletter provides a brief insight into Dutch employment law and the potential consequences for your Embassy. But the Embassy desk of our firm also focuses on:

  • Labour law
  • Rent law / Real estate
  • Investment / Doing business in the Netherlands
  • Matrimonial issues
  • Immunity issuesJan Dop, LL.M, Head of Embassy Desk

Jan Dop,
Head of Embassy Desk