DLP Insights

Collective dismissal and single company attribution in the employment relationship

Categories: DLP Insights, Case Law | Tag: Licenziamento collettivo, Collective dismissal

27 May 2022

In ruling no. 11638 dated 11 April 2022, the Court of Cassation established that the single company attribution in the employment relationship implies that the verification of the redundancies must be carried out considering the entire workforce, i.e., the workers employed by the other companies of the established individual company organisation and not only those of the formal employer company.

Facts of the case

In the first and second instances, the existence of a single company organisation between two defendant companies was established, and the dismissal of a worker because of a collective dismissal procedure activated by his formal employer company was declared illegitimate.

According to the Court, the worker’s redundancy was attributable to the employment situation including the employees of the other defendant company already acquired and owned by the first company.

This circumstance, according to the court, entailed the need that the verification of redundancies in the collective procedure initiated by the formal employer, should be carried out considering the workers employed by the other company and not only those of the formal employer.

The losing companies appealed against the Court’s ruling in cassation, relying on four pleas in law, which the worker opposed with a counter-appeal. 

The Supreme Court of Cassation’s ruling

The Court of Cassation held that the assessment made by the local Court as to the existence of a single company attribution was above reproach.

In the Court of Cassation’s opinion, the established elements of connection between the companies went beyond the implications of a simple synergy between associated companies in terms of features and purposes. These elements encroached on an interpenetration of means and activities, where the latter is indicative of substantial subjective unity and of an individual decision-making centre.

The unavoidable consequence of the single employer attribution is, according to the Court of Cassation, the need for the collective procedure to involve the workers of the individual company organisation resulting from the integration of the two companies, this is because the prerequisites for limiting the number of workers to be dismissed to the sole workforce of the formal employer have not been deduced and proven.

Given the above, the Court of Cassation dismissed the appeal and ordered the two companies to pay the costs of the proceedings

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