New reasons for firing employees

28 February 2023
New reasons for firing employees
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Draft bill #7731 of September 5, 2022 

Status: adopted in the first reading. MPs will still have the opportunity to amend the shortcomings of the draft bill 

Who is affected: employees, employers, and businesses 

Summary of the bill: 

  • employers will be allowed to terminate employment contracts if an employee has been sentenced to basically any punishment by a court verdict and that verdict came into force. The underlying argument in such cases will be that the employer lost trust in the employee 
  • employers will be allowed to terminate employment contracts in the following cases: 
  • if an employee who works at an enterprise of strategic importance — for the economy, security, or critical infrastructure — commits an action or inaction for the benefit of the aggressor state — conditional on that this fact is proven beyond reasonable doubt 
  • if an employee violates internal labor regulations 
  • the burden of proof that there is a reason to dismiss an employee in such cases rests with the employer 
  • the internal labor regulations have to include articles about employees’ actions or inaction that will be beyond reasonable doubt recognized as cooperation with the aggressor state. 

What is right: 

  • the bill will allow to dismiss employees of strategic enterprises if there is proof that they are cooperating with the aggressor state. As a result, the human intelligence network of the aggressor state will become less effective 
  • employees wrongly accused of collaboration with the enemy will have a legal safeguard protecting them against dishonest employers: if such an employee challenges his or her dismissal in the appeal court, it will be the obligation of the employer to prove the supposed guilt, not of the dismissed employee. 

What is right: 

  • the rights of employees found guilty by courts will be significantly reduced. Currently, such employees can be fired only if their punishment prevents them from performing their duties. If the bill is passed, the employer will be able to fire any employee who committed any crime and was found guilty 
  • the idea of the bill goes against the purpose of criminal punishment: its purpose is not just to punish, but also to correct the criminal and prevent new crimes. Permission to fire an employee for any crime is unlikely to help with correcting him or her 
  • the bill misinterprets the purpose of internal labor regulations: they are supposed to define how the work is organized, and not how to fight the aggressor state. It is the task of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to look for collaborators, employers have no business doing that 
  • the “beyond reasonable doubt” principle requires that one party is able to prove the case in a manner that excludes all other reasonable explanations of the events. However, this principle is more characteristic of criminal law, and it is hard to tell how it will be applied to labor disputes.