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When Does a Continuous Fault Become a Serious Cause Justifying Dismissal?

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Claeys & Engels offers reassurance in the full range of human resources matters and fast, efficient and pragmatic legal advice.
Find out about Belgian case law on dismissals for serious cause

The Belgian Supreme Court recently annulled a judgment of the Labour Law Court of Bergen because a judgment it had handed down denied the right of the employer (in this case: an administrator of a hospital) to determine himself when a continuous misconduct makes the professional cooperation immediately and definitively impossible – and consequently justifies a dismissal for serious cause.

In this case the Labour Law Court of Luik had judged that the dismissal for serious cause was too late, because the invoked ‘serious cause’ was already known to the employer for more than three working days. This case was about a staff member who didn’t have the required diploma. The hospital had already notified the employee concerned in March 2003 in writing that the hospital considered this as a serious misconduct/fault and the employee was ordered to regularize the situation. Only in June of that year, the administrator dismissed the employee for serious cause because the employee had announced that he refused to meet the hospital’s demands.

But the Belgian Supreme Court judged that the Labour Court of Luik, denied the right of the employer to determine himself, in case of a persistent/continuous misconduct/fault, at what moment in time this misconduct/fault makes the  professional cooperation definitively and immediately impossible – and consequently justifies a dismissal for serious cause

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