In general, an employee who is fired has the right to request his/her former employer to motivate the dismissal. Such request must be done in case of a dismissal with a period of notice, within a period of 6 months after the dismissal, without however, exceeding a period of 2 months after the end of the employment contract. This 2-month period is also the deadline in case of dismissal with immediate effect.
In the case at hand, an employee was fired with a period of notice. However, 5 months after the beginning of the notice period, the employer terminated the employment contract with immediate effect and the payment of a severance indemnity corresponding to the remaining part of the period of notice. One month later, the employee made a formal request to the employer to motivate the dismissal. As the employer did not respond to this request, the employee claimed an indemnity of 17 weeks salary, for a manifestly unreasonable dismissal, before the Labour Court of Ghent. However, the Court rejected the claim and stated that the decision to dismiss the employee was taken by the employer at the moment of the notification of the termination, with a period of notice. The employee was therefore too late with his request (the deadline of 6 months had already expired).
In the opinion of the Labour Court, the conversion of a dismissal with a period of notice into an immediate dismissal with the payment of a severance indemnity, did not trigger a new deadline to motivate the dismissal. Whether or not this jurisprudence will be followed by other courts, is still to be determined. It has not been not excluded, that a new element, other than the original reason to dismiss the employee, could justify the interruption of the notice period.