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News, Case

The instant dismissal by Ryanair due to refusal to change work locations is upheld

donderdag 25 januari 2018

Last week, the decision of 4 December 2017 by the Subdistrict Section of the Subdistrict Court Oost-Brabant was published in Jurisprudentie Arbeidsrecht (JAR). In this decision, it is ruled that an instant dismissal by Ryanair Ltd. was lawfully given. An employee with Polish nationality structurally refused to cooperate in a change in her work location from Eindhoven to Dublin. Both parties agreed on an employment contract in which parties declared Irish law to be applicable. In addition, the employment contract explicitly stated that the employee could be transferred to another location at any time.

Competence of the Dutch court

As this was a cross-border dispute, the Subdistrict court first assessed whether the Dutch court was competent to assess this case. Although the employee performed only a small part of her work in the Netherlands, the Subdistrict court deemed itself to be competent in this case, due to the fact that the employee's home base was located in Eindhoven. The Subdistrict court protects the weaker party herein.

Applicable law

The next question the court needed to assess was which law is applicable to this case. Based on the Rome I regulation, it was established that Irish law is applicable due to the choice of law made by the parties. The Subdistrict court also established that including a unilateral changes clause and Ryanair's appeal to it are not in conflict with a Dutch binding judicial provision, so this has to be assessed according to Irish law as well.

Instant dismissal

According to Irish law, refusing a change in work location and the employee's refusal to appear at planned hearings is gross misconduct. Based on the Irish legal provisions, these are grounds for immediate termination of the employment contract. Therefore, the instant dismissal was upheld.  Consequently, all compensations claimed by the employee have been rejected.

In this case, Ryanair Ltd. was assisted by J.J. Croon and M. Bestebreurtje.

Mieke Bestebreurtje

employment law and employee representation

+31 (0)10 209 27 76
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