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September 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Norrbom Vinding Law Firm, member of ius laboris.

More articles by this firm.

Termination of employment
An employer who had released an employee from the duty to work could not then summarily dismiss the employee for the same misconduct.
A summary dismissal will generally be justified if an employee is caught fiddling his time sheets. This is more or less the same as being caught with your ‚Äėfingers in the till‚Äô. But the employer must act promptly and consistently if it wishes to summarily dismiss the employee. If the employer decides to give notice of termination, there is no way back. This can be seen from a recent industrial arbitration.
‚ÄėI could elect to summarily dismiss you ... I have decided to release you from the duty to work'. This was how the employer wrote the employee in an email because he had fiddled his time sheets. Four days after sending the email, the employer decided to summarily dismiss the employee instead.
Unfair summary dismissal
The umpire did not doubt that the email should be taken as meaning that the employee was given notice and released from the duty to work ‚Äď and that the employer had thus decided not to summarily dismiss him for fiddling his time sheets.
Since the employee had not done anything wrong after receiving the email, the umpire held that the summary dismissal was unfair.
 
Norrbom Vinding notes:
  • that the case shows that employers must promptly decide what sanction to impose for gross misconduct. If an ordinary dismissal is opted for, in most cases the employee cannot then be summarily dismissed for the same misconduct.
The above does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such

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