Dismissal due to reorganization
If a company is not doing well economically, you as an employee may be faced with dismissal due to a reorganisation. In the event of a reorganization for economic reasons, an employer is allowed to dismiss employees. However, that does not mean that it is just possible. Your employer must abide by a fair amount of ground rules before being allowed to fire you for a reorganization. What should you pay attention to if you are fired during a reorganization and what can you do if you think your dismissal is unjustified?
Reorganizing for economic reasons
Dismissal due to reorganization is only allowed if the reorganization takes place for economic reasons. This usually means that the company is in financially very difficult weather, but it can also be the case that changing technology or the divestment of certain business activities may require fewer staff. A reorganization that takes place for economic reasons is permitted if it can be demonstrated that the company can only continue to exist if it is reorganized. The reorganization is then the only solution to avoid bankruptcy and to keep the other jobs.
The consequences of a reorganization
A reorganization does not automatically mean that you will be fired. In consultation between the employee and the employer, it can also be decided, for example, to shorten working hours, to perform another function or to transfer to another branch of the company. Your employer can also offer guidance in finding another job. In this way, dismissal can sometimes be avoided. If the reorganization nevertheless leads to dismissal, the employer must go through an established procedure. Before the company can fire people on permanent contracts for reorganization, it must first lay off all temporary employees and all hired or seconded employees. Only if that is not enough, the company may dismiss employees with a permanent contract.In doing so, the employer cannot choose who to dismiss and who does not, but must apply the so-called “reflection principle”.
Which employees are fired?
The reflection principle is a selection method with which the dismissal order is determined in the event of a dismissal due to reorganization. The UWV, where your employer has to apply for dismissal, will monitor compliance with the reflection principle. This principle means that all employees are divided into five age categories per position. For each age category, the person who entered last is the first to leave. The number of employees made redundant per age group depends on the age structure within the company. The redundancies should be distributed over the age categories in such a way that the age structure before and after the redundancy round is virtually the same.
Deviating from the reflection principle
An employer is obliged to apply the reflection principle and may only deviate from this in very exceptional cases. The principle does not apply, for example, if a certain job group lapses in its entirety. An exception can also be made for an employee who is indispensable. In addition, employees who are pregnant or who are ill for a long time may not be fired just like that. When you are dismissed due to a reorganisation, it is therefore important to check whether your employer has adhered to the principle of reflection. If you have any doubts about this, you can make this known to the UWV. In the application for dismissal, your employer must also indicate to the UWV what efforts the company has made to relocate or guide you to other work, and thus to prevent dismissal.
Although it is often difficult to avoid dismissal due to a reorganization, as an employee you can ensure that you are not simply sent away. In some cases, for example, you are entitled to a severance payment or a (re)training budget. If your employer dismisses more than twenty employees, he is also obliged to draw up a Social Plan. If you do not agree with your dismissal, you can lodge an objection with the UWV. This must be done within two weeks after the employer has submitted the request for dismissal. The procedure for dismissal due to a reorganization is very complex and your employer must comply with many rules.
If you want to challenge your dismissal, it is therefore wise to enlist expert help. Even if your employer offers you a settlement agreement, with which you sign for dismissal with mutual approval, we recommend that you have it assessed by a lawyer. We are happy to look at the possibilities together with you. Contact us directly for more information about what we can do for you.