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Wedding turned into summary dismissal

June 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Norrbom Vinding Law Firm, member of ius laboris.

More articles by this firm.

If an employee needs a day off and the day is a normal work day, the absence must be authorised by the employer or otherwise legitimised, for instance by sickness – and it is for the employee to show that the absence has been authorised. The Danish Western High Court so held in a case where a shop assistant and her employer disagreed about whether she had been given time off to attend a wedding.

Sussi L. Skovgaard-Holm
slh@norrbomvinding.com

A shop assistant went to a wedding on a rostered work day and was summarily dismissed. The summary dismissal was justified, for days off require authorised absence.

 

If an employee needs a day off and the day is a normal work day, the absence must be authorised by the employer or otherwise legitimised, for instance by sickness - and it is for the employee to show that the absence has been authorised. The Danish Western High Court so held in a case where a shop assistant and her employer disagreed about whether she had been given time off to attend a wedding.

 

According to the roster, the shop assistant would be working over the Easter weekend, but she asked her employer for time off as she had been invited to a wedding.

 

Easter came and the shop assistant did not show on the days she was supposed to work. As the employer did not believe that he had given her the day off, the employer saw it as unauthorised absence and dismissed her summarily. The employee, however, claimed compensation for unfair dismissal and for an incomplete statement of particulars as well.

 

Judgment in favour of both parties

The Court found that the employer had expressed some measure of sympathy for the shop assistant's request for the day off, but this did not mean that the employer was barred from informing the shop assistant - at least 2 weeks before the weekend in question - that her request would not be granted. The summary dismissal was therefore justified.

The claim for compensation under the Danish Statement of Employment Particulars Act was allowed as the statement of particulars was not in compliance with the Danish Salaried Employees Act and the Danish Health Information Act on some points. Since the deficiencies conflicted with mandatory requirements and had given rise to a dispute and, additionally, were not excusable, the shop assistant was awarded DKK 25 000 in compensation.

 

Norrbom Vinding notes: 

  • that the case illustrates that it is for the employee to show that he or she has been given the day off on rostered days; and

  • that the case is yet another example of the specific assessment of compensation awards after the amendment of the compensation provisions of the Danish Statement of Employment Particulars Act - it will most likely take a decision from the Danish Supreme Court to set the future level of such awards.

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