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I have been fired for an urgent reason. What now?

If you are fired for urgent reasons, your (former) employer blames you for a serious fault that makes any further professional cooperation between you immediately and permanently impossible. This shortcoming does not necessarily have to occur in the professional sphere. A shortcoming in the private sphere can also lead to dismissal for urgent reasons.

Your employer must follow a strict dismissal procedure when dismissing you for serious cause. First, it must be certain that you have been seriously at fault. Your (former) employer may take the necessary time to gather enough evidence to do so. Once that is the case, it has a three-day period to dismiss you.

As soon as the employer fires you for an urgent reason, he has three days to inform you of the urgent reason in a letter of dismissal. You must receive this dismissal letter by registered mail or by bailiff. Your (former) employer can also hand you this letter and ask you to sign a double copy for receipt. If you don't, you will still receive the letter of dismissal by registered mail or by a bailiff.

In the dismissal letter, the employer must accurately describe the facts that indicate a serious deficiency. This allows you, and the judge in the event you challenge the dismissal, to assess whether there is indeed a serious deficiency.

If you are dismissed for serious cause, you are not entitled to unemployment benefits. The RVA only awards unemployment benefits to those who are without work and pay due to circumstances independent of their own will. This is different if you were to contest your dismissal. In that case, the RVA may grant you provisional unemployment benefits.

Why is it best to consult a lawyer?

If you feel that your employer did not follow the dismissal procedure or that you were unfairly dismissed for urgent reasons, you can challenge your dismissal before the labour court. It is then best to hire a lawyer to check for you whether you have a chance of succeeding, and if so, to then assist you in this from A to Z.

If the court rules that the employer did not respect the dismissal procedure, then the dismissal is plainly unlawful and you are entitled to severance pay.

If the employer did respect the dismissal procedure, the judge will consider whether you have indeed committed a serious breach of contract that immediately and definitively renders any further professional cooperation between you and your employer impossible. This is entirely up to the judge's discretion in the light of the specific circumstances. Thus, he can take into account mitigating and aggravating circumstances. If the judge considers that you have not been seriously short-changed, you are also entitled to severance pay.

If you challenge your dismissal, the NEO can also give you a provisional unemployment benefit grant. You will then receive a monthly benefit, allowing you to look for a new job with peace of mind. Beware, there are also risks involved. If the court rules that your dismissal for urgent reasons was unjustified and consequently grants you severance pay, you will be obliged to repay all those provisional benefits.

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