Summarily fired for touching colleague’s breasts

Summarily fired for touching colleague’s breasts

Summarily fired for touching colleague’s breasts

The employee has worked for the employer since 1984. On March 15, 2022, during a lunch with five colleagues, the employee told his female colleague the same riddle twice. In the process, he touched her breasts both times. The colleague indicated that she did not know the answer to the riddle. To that, the employee indicated that he did not know either, but that he now touched her breasts.

After this incident, the employee returns to work. That afternoon, the employee was spoken to by his supervisor about the incident. On the next two days, the director spoke with the employee and heard from other employees present at the lunch. On March 18, 2022, the employee was summarily dismissed for sexually transgressive behavior. The employee argued that there was no pressing reason and the dismissal was not immediate. He said the conversation about the Voice and the sending of pornographic images that preceded employee’s conduct prompted the riddle. The employee resigned from the dismissal and requested payment of equitable compensation, liquidated damages, transition compensation and vacation pay on the paid vacation days.

The district judge ruled that the employer had acted with sufficient diligence. The fact that the employee continued working after the incident does not take away from the fact that the dismissal was immediate. An investigation was launched immediately. An investigation must be conducted carefully, taking into account, among other things, the avoidance of unrest within the company, the collection of evidence and legal advice, and the concern to avoid harming the interests of the employee in question if the suspicion turns out to be false. The employee’s conduct resulted in an impermissible violation of the colleague’s physical and mental integrity. This type of behavior also does not require the employer to have a policy to prevent it. The employee’s personal circumstances, namely his long and impeccable record, make his conduct inadmissible. Even the prior conversation about the Voice does not change this. There is no disproportionately severe sanction. The employee was rightly summarily dismissed. The employee is not entitled to the transition fee or any other compensation. However, the employee was entitled to payment of vacation allowance on the paid vacation days (EUR 178.12 gross).

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Yvonne Sørensen