Dismissal for acts committed outside of the center and outside of working hours
The Supreme Court in its ruling of unification of doctrine of 3105/2022, EDJ 599968, declared that a disciplinary dismissal based on aggressions and insults to a colleague
The facts produced are relevant and linked to the work activity, having caused a deterioration of labor relations and the image of the company
The Supreme Court in its ruling of unification of doctrine of 3105/2022, EDJ 599968, declared that a disciplinary dismissal based on aggressions and insults to a colleague that took place outside the workplace and outside working hours was justified. The facts produced are relevant and linked to the work activity, having caused a deterioration of labor relations and the image of the company.
The case in question is the following:
At the end of the company’s Christmas celebration, the worker, without any provocation whatsoever, addresses a co-worker, insulting him with expressions such as ‘asshole’ and ‘son of a bitch’. In addition, he tried to physically assault him on several occasions while he was insulting him by calling him ‘fucking Moor’ and ‘son of a bitch’, but other workers of the company prevented him from doing so.
Finally he was expelled from the premises, although before leaving he tried again to attack his colleague by shaking him hard. After learning of the facts, which were reported by the owner of the establishment, the company asked the workers, who confirmed the facts and said they were fed up with the worker’s behavior.
The worker had previously been disciplined.
Considering that there had been a very serious misconduct of mistreatment in word and deed and a serious misconduct of disrespect towards colleagues (ET art.54.2.c), the company proceeded to his disciplinary dismissal.
The dismissal was declared fair in the lower court, but in the appeal, it was declared unlawful because it was proven that the events occurred outside the workplace and outside working hours.
Dissatisfied, the company filed an appeal in cassation for the unification of doctrine.
The question that arises is to determine how the dismissal should be qualified when the offenses occur outside the workplace and outside working hours.
The SC recalls that the obligation to act in accordance with the rules of good faith is one of the basic labor duties, which the employee must comply with at the workplace and during working hours. It points out that this obligation is maintained but is greatly relaxed and flexible when he is in the private sphere of his personal life. However, this does not mean that during this period he can carry out actions detrimental to the company which, if they had been carried out during working hours, would be subject to a sanction. That is to say, the employee who is outside the workplace and working hours can commit punishable acts if he thereby engages in behaviors that have some kind of relevance and connection with the work activity.
In the case in question, although the punishable conduct took place outside the workplace and working hours, it is clear that it affects other colleagues in the company, affecting the coexistence among them and the reputation of the employer himself. The serious insults made conditioned the working relations between them and also damaged the image of the company, bringing it into disrepute in the eyes of third parties. Furthermore, the insults, which reached a discriminatory bias because of race, and the offenses of work, have transcended private relations, attacking the dignity of the coworkers themselves and affecting the company itself, so that the fact that they occurred outside the workplace does not prevent the application of the disciplinary sanction of dismissal and its qualification as fair.
For all these reasons, the appeal is upheld, and the appealed judgment is annulled.
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