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Ontslag op staande voet & Onverwijldheid

Ontslag op staande voet & Onverwijldheid

Without delay

Immediately means that action is taken expeditiously, without unnecessary delay or delay.


In a recent case (heard at the Limburg District Court), there was an employee about whom customers had complained to the employer. This is due to the fact that the employee was repeatedly found sleeping on the work floor by the customers in question, in any case on September 26, 2023 and on October 26, 2023. According to the employer, the employee was summoned for this on October 30, 2023. The employer states to summarily dismiss the employee during the conversation on October 30, 2023. The employee disputes that his employment contract was terminated by the employer with immediate effect on October 30, 2023. The employee states that he only became aware of the summary dismissal after receiving the letter from the employer dated November 16, 2023, which dismissal was confirmed by the employer in the letter in question.


The employer cannot provide evidence for the verbal summary dismissal given on October 30, 2023. For that reason, the subdistrict court judge passed the employer’s statement in this regard.  

And then the subdistrict court judge continues: Even if the facts stated by the employer on which summary dismissal was invoked could already provide an urgent reason for summary dismissal, then the dismissal was not given without delay or at least not communicated without delay. According to the subdistrict court judge, the employer should have acted more expeditiously and taken immediate action. In the event of summary dismissal, the situation must be so serious that continuation of the employment contract cannot take place for another day, so to speak. It is not appropriate to only proceed with summary dismissal after a few days or weeks, according to the subdistrict court judge.

Legal framework

The subdistrict court judge’s view that an employer cannot only proceed with summary dismissal after a few days or weeks is – in a general sense (and in my view) – too simplistic. The legal framework of the concept of “immediate termination” gives the party that is considering termination for an urgent reason some respite before actually proceeding with dismissal. After all, there is the opportunity to initiate a – preferably external – investigation; to hear the employee in question; for internal consultation; for obtaining legal advice and for waiting for the persons authorized to dismiss. All this provided that we act with the necessary diligence.

Pick it up and keep going

The employer therefore has some time after becoming aware of a possible urgent reason. Pick up and continue is the motto to prevent unnecessary delays and to comply with the requirement of promptness. Furthermore, it may be advisable to keep the parties involved – and in particular the employee – informed of the progress of actions performed and to be performed by the employer and/or an external party. The employer in Limburg might have been better off opting for a notification on October 30, 2023 that a possible urgent reason had been brought to its attention in order to subsequently conduct an investigation and take the steps mentioned above (hear the employee, consult, obtain advice and wait for person authorized to dismiss).  

Auteur: Thijs Muffels 

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