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Does an employee have the right to know the reasons for his dismissal?

Employees who have been with their employer for at least six months are entitled to know the reasons for their dismissal. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

This right does not exist in the following cases:

  • the employee is connected by an employment contract for temporary work with an employment agency
  • the employee is linked by an employment contract for student employment
  • the employee was dismissed with a view to entering the regime of unemployment with company allowance
  • the worker was dismissed within the framework of an open-ended employment contract, from the first day of the month following the month in which the worker reaches the statutory retirement age
  • the worker was made redundant due to the definitive cessation of activity, the closure of an enterprise, collective redundancies or multiple redundancies (defined at sectoral level)
  • the worker has been dismissed within the framework of a 'special dismissal procedure' defined by law or a collective labour agreement (examples : the workers protected within the framework of social elections or prevention advisers)
  • the employee has been dismissed for an urgent reason

If, as an employer, you yourself communicate the reasons for dismissal in writing, you are obviously not obliged later to respond to an employee's request for justification.

If you do not communicate the reason in the dismissal itself, your employee can still request you to communicate that reason by registered letter. If there is a notice period, the employee must make this request to his employer within a period of six months after the start of the notice, and at the latest within a period of two months after the end of the employment contract.

As an employer, you are then obliged to provide the concrete reasons for dismissal to the employee by registered mail within two months of receiving the request. If you do not reply within the deadline or do not provide concrete reasons for dismissal, you must pay the employee a flat civil penalty equivalent to two weeks' wages.

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