Czech Republic: Immediate Termination of the Employment Relationship by the Employer
The Supreme Court of the Czech Republic has issued a clarifying ruling in a dispute between an employer and an employee, on assessment of validity of the immediate termination of the employment relationship and stated the specific assessment conditions.
(File number: 21 Cdo 1184/2022 – 189, dated 26 May 2023)
In this case, the employee used employer’s facilities and equipment for his own use during working hours and caused an accident (a minor explosion) at the workplace. The employee was injured, endangered the lives and health of other employees, and caused damage to the employer’s property (approx. 200 EUR). The employer immediately terminated the employee´s employment relationship. The employee contradicted the termination and filed a lawsuit on assessment of validity of the immediate termination.
Under Czech labour law, one of the statutory reasons for an immediate termination of the employment relationship by the employer is that the employee has breached an obligation that arises from the statutory provisions and relates to their work performance in an especially gross manner. Such reason was stated by the employer in the present case, and the Supreme Court had to consider if the described employee’s conduct constituted a breach of the employee’s obligations in an especially gross manner.
The Supreme Court concluded that if (i) the employee uses the employer’s facilities, equipment, etc. without the employer’s permission and contrary to the assigned work, (ii) such conduct is performed during employee’s working hours, and (iii) the employee endangered the employer’s property and health of other employees, the employee acts contrary to their statutory duties arising from the employment law regulations. Furthermore, the Supreme Court stated that under these assumptions, the employer cannot be fairly required to continue employing the employee and terminate the employment relationship by a standard dismissal with a notice period lasting two months.
Due to all circumstances and consequences, the immediate termination of the employment relationship was considered adequate to the employee’s conduct, and the Supreme Court thus ruled in favour of the employer.
- For employers, this case highlights the importance of correct assessment of the intensity of the breach of the employee’s work obligations and proper indication of the reasons for the (immediate) termination of the employment relationship by the employer.