An employee was fired for serious cause by the CEO of her company. Although the bylaws of the company determined that a dismissal could only be given by a managing director appointed by the Board of Directors, the dismissal letter was signed by the CEO, who was not a managing director. The employee therefore fought her dismissal in court. During the procedure, the dismissal decision of the CEO was ratified by the Board of Directors of the company.
The Labour Court of Appeal however judged that – in view of the fact that a dismissal for serious cause must be given within a period of three working days after the competent body has taken knowledge of the facts, which form the basis for the dismissal for serious cause – also the ratification of such a decision taken by an incompetent person must be done within that same period.
In this particular case the ratification occurred outside that time period. Moreover, the employee concerned had challenged the competence of the CEO three weeks after the dismissal, which was considered reasonable by the Labour Court. As a consequence, the Court ruled that the dismissal for serious cause was irregular. The employer was therefore condemned to pay a severance pay to the employee.