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How do I fire my employee for urgent reasons?

So if you want to dismiss an employee for an urgent reason, you are actually blaming them for a serious shortcoming that immediately and definitively makes any further professional cooperation between you impossible.

As an employer, you must follow a strict dismissal procedure when dismissing an employee for an urgent reason. First, you have to be sure that your employee has been seriously misconducted even under the law. You may take the necessary time to gather sufficient evidence to do so. Once that is the case, you have a period of three days to dismiss your employee.

As soon as you dismiss your employee for an urgent reason, you again have three days to inform your former employee of this urgent reason in a letter of dismissal. You must send this dismissal letter by registered post or by bailiff. You can also deliver the letter yourself and ask your former employee to sign a double copy for receipt. If he or she does not do so, you still have to have the resignation letter delivered by registered mail or by a bailiff.

In the dismissal letter, the you must accurately describe the facts that you believe prove the serious shortcoming. In this case, the more precise, the better. This is because your former employee, or the judge in the case challenging the dismissal, will use that letter to assess whether there was indeed a serious deficiency.

Why is it best to consult a lawyer?

If you as an employer do not respect the dismissal procedure, or the urgent reason for dismissal turns out to be unjustified, your former employee may challenge that dismissal before the labour court. You would therefore be well advised to consult a lawyer to check for you whether your employee has indeed been seriously at fault, and if so, to help you comply with the dismissal procedure to the letter. This will give you better chances of success as an employer in the event that it were to lead to a case in the labour court.

If the court rules that you, as an employer, did not respect the dismissal procedure, the dismissal is plainly unlawful and you will have to pay your former employee severance pay.

If you did respect the dismissal procedure, the judge will consider whether your former employee did indeed commit a serious misconduct that immediately and definitively renders any further professional cooperation between you impossible. This is entirely at the judge's discretion in the light of the concrete circumstances. Thus, he can take into account mitigating and aggravating circumstances. If the judge considers that there is no serious fault, you must also pay your former employee a severance payment.

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