In the Netherlands, employers must make an effort to reassign employees before they terminate them. But if you work for a large, multinational corporation, is your employer obligated to find a position for you anywhere in the world?
An employer must have reasonable grounds to dismiss an employee. Those grounds can including reprehensible behaviour, poor performance or economic reasons. However, employers also have an obligation to redeploy staff prior to dismissing them. This means that the employer must make efforts to redeploy the employee within the company before proceeding to dismissal.
The question then arises as to whether this obligation to redeploy is limited to the particular company where the employee is working or whether it applies to the entire corporate group to which the company belongs. Dutch case law is currently divided on this question.
Recently, a district court judge ruled on the obligation of redeployment. That ruling said that redeployment within an entire corporation is only obligatory when the group is defined as an economic entity with a central management presiding over the various subdivisions.
However, other district courts have reached different judgments. They have ruled that efforts must be made to redeploy within the group as a whole. An employer who declines to do this may be heavily penalised. A district judge in Rotterdam decided that €90,000 was just compensation for an employee when it was found that the employer had not even considered redeployment within the corporate family.
What to do?
Our advice to employers is therefore to consider redeployment very seriously and to show that they have looked at options across the corporate group. Otherwise the risk is too high that a district judge will penalise the dismissal by imposing a high level of just compensation.
If you are an employee who is facing a dismissal or if you are an employer who must dismiss an employee, you can contact our specialised lawyers to assist you.
Godelijn experienced an international upbringing and education as an expat child living in Africa and England. Back in The Netherlands, she studied law at the University of Utrecht (1990). She then embarked on her legal career as a lawyer by working 10 years for the well-known law firm of ‘Wladimiroff en Spong Advocaten’. In 2000 she joined GMW lawyers as a partner and is the head of the Labour law and Pension section.
Godelijn specialises in international employment law and has extensive experience in dealing with both non-contentious and contentious international employment matters including (collective) redundancy packages and dismissal. She works for both companies and individual employees, enabling her to keep an open mind to both sides of a case. Naturally she helps her clients when a problem has arisen, but prefers to act before an escalation has taken place. Advice on a fair Human Resource policy is an essential part of her work.
Godelijn Boonman is considered to be the undoubted employment specialist for the expat community because she is bilingual, has a large international clientele and a wealth of experience in international employment law matters. She is therefore frequently asked to be the key note speaker at international seminars.
Godelijn has a keen interest in the international community and is a member of the advisory board of ACCESS .