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Dismissal of an employee
When you or your company wants to terminate an employee, it is important that you are aware of your obligations as an employer. This means that when terminating an employee, you must be aware of the basis of employment. You need to know whether the termination is regulated by the Danish Salaried Employees Act, collective agreement or otherwise in the employment contract. You also need to know if the employee will be working, suspended or laid off during the notice period.
The reason for the termination
A termination will typically be justified by the company's circumstances, either through downsizing or organizational changes. The reason for termination can also be based on the employee's circumstances. For example, inappropriate behavior or inadequate performance. In these cases, a written warning is typically required before termination.
An employee's notice period will depend on the position they held (e.g. the Danish Salaried Employee Act, collective agreement or other contractual agreement) and whether they were a 'specially protected employee'. This will often be shop stewards and health and safety representatives.
Should the employee work during the notice period, be suspended or laid off?
The employer has the sole discretion to decide whether the terminated employee should work during the notice period, be suspended or laid off. Suspension means that the employee does not have to attend work, but must be available to your employer. In the case of dismissal, the employee does not have to attend work or be available to their employer. This also means that you can start a new job during the notice period if you have been laid off - but not in a competing company.
Regardless of the choice, the employee is generally entitled to salary during the notice period.
Checklist - practicalities of redundancy
When saying goodbye to your workplace, it's important to know what to do with your work mobile, email, task handover, logins, etc.
- Mobile, PC and other electronics: In many workplaces, you are given electronic equipment to perform your job. When you leave your workplace, these must be returned to the employer.
- Remember to respect the duty of loyalty: Your duty of loyalty also applies if you are laid off or suspended in connection with a termination.
- Phone number: If you brought your own private phone number with you when you started your job, you should have a written agreement about this. This will ensure that you can get the same number when you leave the workplace.
- Email: If you are working during the notice period, you must of course have access to your email. If you are laid off, you must not log in to your email unsolicited, as the laid-off employee does not have a legitimate interest in checking their work email. The Danish Data Protection Agency has issued guidelines for handling emails from terminated employees. These state that an email account may only be kept open for "as short a period as possible" and for a maximum of 12 months after the employee has left the workplace.
- Agree on emails and possibly images: If you have private emails and images on any electronic devices, it's a good idea to make an agreement with your workplace about how these will be transferred, deleted or otherwise.
- Company car: If you have a company car, it must be handed in and documentation must be sent to the responsible person.
- Canteen card and any key f ob must be handed in.
- Deletion policy for the company: When an employee leaves the company, the company is no longer allowed to store and process the person's master data. Therefore, processes must be set up to ensure that personal data is deleted in compliance with GDPR.
Handover of tasks
In some cases, it may be relevant to hand over work tasks to another employee. In this context, you can:
- Hold meetings so that the recipients are sure to understand the workflows and become familiar with the relevant knowledge. During these meetings, the dismissed employee should document their daily work routines and tasks to ensure that the relevant parties receive the right information.
- In addition, you can ensure that the terminated employee's tasks are carried out correctly going forward.
Expulsion of an employee
As an employer, you may find that the only option for an employee is dismissal. Dismissal of an employee can be considered when an employee has shown such unacceptable behavior that can be characterized as material misconduct. In the event of dismissal, the employment relationship ends immediately. This also means that the notice period, salary, etc. ceases from the day of dismissal.
Expulsion cases are based on a case-by-case assessment. Some of the typical reasons for expulsion are:
- Work weighting
- Theft or other forms of crime
- Disloyal behavior
- Violence and threats against colleagues and boss
- The employee has received a previous warning and does not change their behavior. In this situation, it increases your employer's right to dismiss you for cause
A dismissal must be carried out immediately after the employer has become aware of the circumstances that justify the dismissal.
If the dismissal turns out to be unjustified, the employee may be entitled to compensation and reimbursement. This is most often done through your union. In the event that the employee's case is successful, the company may have to pay compensation or reimbursement for the employee's financial loss.
As the employer, you must be able to prove and document that the dismissal is justified. It is therefore important that you as an employer ensure that the basis on which you choose to dismiss is correct and objective. In this case, the rules in the Danish Salaried Employees Act and the general rules on compensation determine the amount of compensation the employee may be entitled to.
At LegalHero, we can help both employers and employees with all challenges related to dismissal. If you are an employer and you are in a situation where you want to dismiss an employee, we are happy to help you with an assessment of the entire situation. We can also assist you with the preparation of legal documents in connection with the dismissal.