20 Sep Instant dismissal in a nutshell: how an Efteling-visit cost an elementary school teacher her job
The elementary school teacher joined a school for special primary education in Amsterdam on Jan. 1, 2021, for students ages 4 to 12. The teacher was working as a teacher for Group Red, for whom a class outing was scheduled for March 10, 2023. The teacher had already suggested – in vain – to the principal that the children go to the Efteling in Kaatsheuvel. The alternative was a field trip to Space Expo in Noordwijk. For transportation to Space Expo, the principal had borrowed two vans from other schools. On March 10, group Red, accompanied by their teacher, left for the Efteling after all. The teacher posted a message in the school’s newsletter a week later reporting, contrary to the truth, on the field trip to Space Expo.
Later in March, a financial meeting between the directors revealed that the vans had been driven too fast on the A2 on March 10, 2023, and it turned out that the final destination that day was Kaatsheuvel after all. The teacher is summarily dismissed that same day. The confirmation letter mentions taking the students to the Efteling without permission, the untrue message in the newsletter and knowingly lying to the employer about where the teacher had been with the students on March 10, 2023.
The district judge ruled that the dismissal was immediate. After all, by concealing the true purpose of travel, the truth was only revealed by reading the black box of the vans. The district judge considers going to the Efteling without permission sufficient grounds for a legally valid summary dismissal. After all, there was an uninsured situation. In doing so, the teacher took an unacceptable risk, which could have led to serious consequences. Because of the teacher’s unprofessional and willful actions, the school and the parents of the (vulnerable) students did not know where they were for much of the day on March 10, 2023. This is unacceptable. That it ”ended well” does not make it any different.
On top of that, the teacher lied to the school, going so far as to post a falsified report in the newsletter. Whether the teacher told the students in so many words to shut up about the Efteling was left open. Either way, according to the district judge, she involved the vulnerable students in a conspiracy and put them in an awkward position. In conclusion, the summary dismissal stands.
Many employers think that summary dismissal is almost never possible. Yet a summary dismissal is possible more often than you think. In fact, our lawyers deal with them on a regular basis.
Lying (cheating) is listed in the law as a possible reason for summary dismissal. The potential serious consequences of going out with vulnerable students, where no one knew where they were, and persistent lying to the school and parents, were sufficient for a legally valid summary dismissal in this case. The teacher’s good intentions do not detract from this.
Meanwhile, an appeal has been filed by the teacher’s lawyer. During the appeal, the teacher wants to set the untruths straight. “Her good intentions completely fade into the background,” said her lawyer. “And that is very hard on her.” We consider the appeal quite hopeless.
Sparring over a possible summary dismissal?