A disrupted employment relationship with a teacher who was too harsh in his backlash over alleged transgressive behavior

A disrupted employment relationship with a teacher who was too harsh in his backlash over alleged transgressive behavior

Disrupted employment relationship

Amsterdam District Court July 2023

The employee joined the employer as a teacher on September 1, 2019. In November 2021, the first signs came in of alleged (sexually) transgressive and/or inappropriate behavior by the employee. These signals came from both students and a female colleague of the employee. After practical interventions, including not allowing the employee to work with the female employee anymore, the employer started a conversation with the employee. This conversation was followed by a sequence of events in which the employee reported harassing behavior by the employer. At the employee’s request, an investigation was conducted, two counter-examinations were carried out and he filed a complaint with the LKC. In the meantime, the employee calls in sick. A mediation process was initiated but ended without result. The employer requests dissolution of the employment contract due to a disturbed relationship. Despite numerous attempts to resolve the issue of alleged sexually transgressive behavior, the employee effectively blocked all solutions. He refused to comply with the employer’s reasonable requests.

The district judge ruled that there was a disrupted employment relationship. The extensively reproduced correspondence, the many complaints and accusations that the employee made against his employer, the manner in which he did so and the wording he used in doing so, show that relations had become permanently and thoroughly disturbed and soured. Although many attempts were made, the parties failed to resolve the conflict that had arisen between them. In particular, it is considered that the parties have already gone through a mediation process, which ended without resolution. The totality of the named events gives no hope for (future) fruitful cooperation between the parties.

Although the employee played a major part in the disruption, and the situation that arose was largely attributable to the employee, his conduct was not of such a serious nature as to constitute serious culpability on the part of the employee. Although he crossed boundaries, there was no evidence that he did so out of ill will. This is culpable, but not seriously culpable. Since there is no serious culpable act or omission on the part of the employee, the employee is entitled to transitional compensation.

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Yvonne Sørensen