An employee was dismissed for serious cause after his employer read in the newspapers that the employee was arrested for an assassination attempt. The employee had fired two gunshots at the sisters of his ex-wife. The employee opposed the dismissal for serious cause in court. He argued that the facts had taken place in his private life and therefore could not be used as grounds for a dismissal for serious cause.
The Labour Court of Appeal of Brussels considered that facts, which occurred in the private life of an employee, may form a reason for a dismissal for serious cause, but only when these facts impact the professional relationship between the employee and the employer, and this, in an immediate and definitive way. Unlike the employer had argued, the Labour Court of Appeal did not believe that the employer had suffered damage to its reputation, which rendered the professional cooperation with the employee immediately and definitely impossible, nor did the Court believe that the safety of the other employees and suppliers of the employer were in danger.
With regard to the damage to its reputation, the Court stated that every normal person could make a distinction between the wrongdoings of the employee in his private life and his capacity as an employee.
Concerning the safety of the co-workers and the suppliers of the employer, the Labour Court of Appeal argued that one single act of violence does not necessarily mean that the employee would demonstrate such behaviour when carrying out his professional duties. A severance indemnity was granted to the employee.