Supreme Court: personal circumstances weigh in severance payment
In its ruling of 30 June 2017, the Supreme Court partially undid the reduction of the severance payment, which was introduced in 2015. With this decision, there is now more discretion for the court to make decisions which take the personal circumstances of the employee – such as the consequences of the dismissal on the employee – into consideration. Employees who are wrongfully dismissed by their employer can claim damages, such as lost income, through court proceedings. The court will look closely at employees’ chances of finding new employment and their years of service, and these factors will likely weigh heavily in court decisions.
Employers who abide by the rules of dismissal do not have to fear sudden additional severance payments. In regular dismissal cases, employees will still be entitled to only a transition payment, provided that they have been employed for two years or longer. This ruling, however, could have an impact on the hundreds of people who are wrongfully dismissed by their employer every year. “It could end up costing those employers a lot, but individual justice has returned in Dutch dismissal law”, says Stefan Sagel, Professor of Employment Law at Leiden University and lawyer at De Brauw. He litigated this pro bono case before the Supreme Court.