Summary dismissal

Summary dismissal is also called “being fired on the spot”. It is the harshest form of dismissal and is reserved for the most urgent cases.

In such a circumstance, the employer can terminate the employment contract without having to observe a notice period by summarily dismissing the employee. Permission from the UWV (Employee Insurance Schemes Implementing Body) is not required for this type of dismissal and possible termination prohibitions (such as illness) no longer apply.

Impact of summary dismissal

Such a dismissal has far-reaching consequences for the employee. Besides the fact that he or she loses his or her job with immediate effect, they are also not entitled to unemployment benefits. A summary dismissal is therefore meticulously weighed by judges and only considered valid if it meets certain requirements.

Urgent reason

First of all, the reason must be sufficiently urgent to justify dismissal. This means that as a consequence of the behaviour of the employee it cannot be expected that the employer maintains the employment contract.

Examples are: theft, embezzlement and fraud, threats or mistreatment of fellow employees and the persistent refusal to carry out reasonable orders given by the employer.

The judge assesses the nature and seriousness of the misconduct, but also takes other circumstances of the case into account. Relevant are amongst others the nature and duration of the employment, the manner in which the employee has fulfilled the employment, but also his or her personal circumstances.

Formal requirements

If an urgent reason arises, the employer is expected to terminate the employment contract almost immediately after this reason has become known. The urgent reason for the dismissal together with the notice of termination must also be communicated to the employee forthwith. An employee must immediately understand why he or she is being fired.


There are several reasons why a judge might not consider a summary dismissal valid. First of all, the reason may not be urgent enough for such a severe sanction. Or the reason cannot be proven. Finally, sometimes the necessary formalities such as a simultaneous notification of the reason, are not always precisely observed.

In the event an employee does not accept the dismissal, he or she will have to contest the dismissal before a judge. Should the judge rule in favour of the employee and consider the dismissal not valid, this would entail that the employment contract is not to be considered terminated so that consequently (payment) obligations must still be complied with.

Employees can only contest a summary dismissal within 2 months. It is therefore very important to contact an employment lawyer immediately if you are fired on the spot.

Further information

Do you have questions about summary dismissal or do you want to discuss a case? Please contact our employment law team.

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