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Court of Cassation, 7 July 2015, no. 14106: a letter of admonition cannot be postponed

With its ruling no. 14106/2015, the Court of Cassation declared a dismissal of an employee for just cause wrongful due to a late letter of admonition. In the case in question, a disciplinary proceeding was started in April 2010 against the worker, who was arrested in January 2009 for events not related to his employment. This was because he had hidden his arrest from the employer through various contrivances (first taking sick leave, then holidays and lastly, time off). However, the results of initial investigations showed that the company, at least by August 2009, had the information necessary for assessing the facts and acting on them. Therefore, according to the Court the delay in sending the letter of admonition did not appear justifiable, notwithstanding the objection raised by the company that it was only in February 2010 that it had had certain knowledge of the worker’s arrest in 2009 and his later conduct. With this ruling the Court of Cassation confirmed previous case law, whereby a disciplinary dismissal is characterised by the requirement of immediate admonition. Thus the employer must inform the worker of the events he is allegedly charged with as soon as they appear reasonably existing, and cannot postpone the admonitions until he feels he has absolute certainty