In a recent case by the court of Amsterdam, it was ruled that an underperforming employee could not be dismissed for failing to report back to work in time after a vacation due to an obligatory ten day quarantine.
Code orange travel restriction
The employee in question had been a burden to his employer for years. He performed poorly and was involved in all sorts of incidents. When he got ill, he failed to cooperate with the reintegration process. Multiple warnings were issued. Eventually, the employer decided to stop paying wages to the employee and removed him from active duty. The employee in question begged the employer to give him one last chance. While waiting for a response from his employer, the employee decide to go on a planned three week vacation to Italy. At the time, a code orange travel restriction was in effect for Italy. This meant the employee had to go into a ten day quarantine upon returning to the Netherlands. During his vacation, the employer sent a letter to the employee’s home address offering him a last chance. He was also invited to discuss matters. This invite was sent via WhatsApp. Due to the obligatory quarantine, the employee could not make it to the appointment and thereby wasted his last chance for employment with the organization.
The judge understood that the employer demanded the employee to change his conduct and attitude, but also ruled that the obligatory ten day quarantine was to be regarded a valid reason for the employee to miss the appointment. Before the employee went on vacation, the employer had made his demands very clear. The latter knew the employee was on vacation abroad and would therefore be unable to read his mail. In the end, the judge therefore ruled the employment contract would not be dissolved.
Court of Amsterdam, June 29, 2021; ECLI (abridged): 3278