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Lay-Offs: Availability of Similar Job Ruled Irrelevant

Lay-Offs: Availability of Similar Job Ruled Irrelevant

5.3.2013 14:46
Autor: Mgr. Ondřej Mikula, KŠB

If the lay-off occurs because the employer decides to relocate or close down its business, the applicable provisions are relatively straightforward and the employees’ chances of contesting the termination are limited.

However, problems may arise if the employment is terminated on the grounds of restructuring. Many have thought that employees cannot be laid off if a similar job is available or at least that the employer must offer any similar available job before giving the employee notice. The Supreme Court has, however, made it quite clear that it holds a different view.

In the case in question, the employer decided to restructure in order to increase work efficiency. As a result, the particular employee (the claimant) became redundant and was given notice. The employee demanded that the termination be ruled invalid as his employer had a number of similar jobs available.
Although the courts of first instance ruled in favour of the claimant, the Supreme Court disagreed and held that redundancy-based termination cannot be ruled invalid merely because the employer has a vacant job requiring a similar level of experience and skill at the time the notice is given. Moreover, employers are under no obligation to offer a vacant job to a laid-off employee. The only requirement is that the employer, before serving the notice, must officially decide to restructure the company, which as a result the number of employees and their qualifications must change so that the employer’s needs can be met.

The recent ruling offers clarity to previously controversial redundancy-based grounds for dismissal and will certainly be welcomed by employers.

Note: The employer’s counsel in the case (which has been finally decided) was Pavel Dejl, a partner of Kocián Šolc Balaštík. 


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