Dismissal for failure to meet objectives: When is it justified?

Published on 05/04/2024

Dismissal for failure to meet objectives: When is it justified?

Published on 05/04/2024

Join our monthly Newsletter to receive free alerts from new posts

Tabla de contenidos

Dismissal for failure to meet objectives: When is it justified?

The Labor Reform of 2012 makes clear the objective reasons for which an employee may be dismissed. Specifically, such a decision is justified when the following causes concur:

  • Economic reasons.
  • Technical reasons.
  • Organizational reasons.

Although it will also be when it is possible to demonstrate any of the following:

  • Ineptitude of the worker known or arisen after their effective placement in the company.
  • Lack of adaptation of the worker to the technical modifications made in their workplace.

The latest developments in the Workers’ Statute

Several months after the last reform, it’s a good time to review and analyze how individual objective dismissal is defined in current regulations (Article 52 of the Workers’ Statute). Under the new wording of this article, the following causes of dismissal for failure to meet business objectives can be found:

  • Ineptitude of the worker known or arisen after their effective placement in the company. This scenario arises as a result of inadequate ability to perform the work for which the worker was hired, according to the circumstances of place and time demanded at the moment. Some examples of this dismissal would occur due to:
  • Breach of trust in a position of special confidence.
  • Lack of alignment with the company’s ideology, in so-called ideological companies.
  • Lack of suitability to perform the work for which they were hired due to insufficient preparation or suitability to carry out the work obligation effectively and profitably.
  • Personal incapacity or professional inability for the work, stemming from the worker’s lack of preparation or updating of their knowledge, or from the deterioration or loss of their work resources .Failure of the worker to adapt to technical changes in their job when such changes are reasonable. The employer cannot decide on dismissal without first offering the worker a course aimed at facilitating adaptation to the changes made in the company or in their position. During the training, the employment contract will be suspended, and the employer will pay the worker the average salary they were receiving. The termination cannot be agreed by the employer until at least two months have passed since the modification was introduced or since the training aimed at adaptation ended.
  • Due to economic objective reasons. This reason for dismissal corresponds to situations of lack of liquidity in the company, which can demonstrate its losses over a continuous period of time and without prospects of recovery in sight.
  • Due to technical objective reasons. Dismissal would be justified in cases where some technological development is incorporated into the organization that replaces a person’s work. For example, when a process is automated or a certain software is acquired to perform functions that were previously done manually.
  • Due to organizational objective reasons. When, for reasons of company management, a change affecting one or more jobs is decided. It could be due to a geographical relocation, the decision not to proceed with a product, or to stop providing a certain service to the customer.
  • Due to productive objective reasons. These would be dismissals resulting from a transformation in production or in the way it is managed. An example of this would be if an entire production line were replaced with another.
  • Due to absences from work (dismissal for absenteeism). When, repeatedly, the worker is absent from their position without providing necessary justifications.
  • Due to economic insufficiency resulting from the disappearance of programs supported by Public Administrations. This type of dismissal would correspond to those cases in which an organization relied heavily on such aids, which, upon disappearing, undermine the company’s economic solidity, forcing it to make such decisions as it cannot otherwise cover the expenses that have been maintained up to that point.

What is extracted from the case law

While legislation still does not directly reflect how to deal with the technological reality that the business environment and the labor world have become, case law does.

Examples of this are the numerous judgments that have been handed down in recent years regarding the dismissal of individuals for personal use of email or the internet:

  • Dismissal deemed fair due to personal use of email in the company. In the Deutsche Bank case, the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia in Judgment No. 9382/2000 of November 14, 2000, deemed fair the dismissal of an employee for the improper and repeated use of email for personal use during working hours. The banking entity had regulations governing the use of this medium. Subsequently, this worker sued four executives of Deutsche Bank for the crime of discovery and disclosure of secrets, as set forth in article 197 of the Penal Code, since they accessed the content of the emails.
  • Dismissal deemed fair for excessively browsing the internet during working hours. This precedent was established in La Rioja when, in 2011, an employee of the company Iman Temporing ETT was deemed fairly dismissed for spending too much time during their working day on websites unrelated to their work.
  • Dismissal deemed fair for incorrect use of company equipment. In the case illustrated by another judgment, the employee signed the internal regulations on the use of computer equipment twice, which established absolute and partial prohibitions and informed employees that a system of control and verification of correct computer use would be implemented. After being verbally warned about the correct use of the computer, after it was found, upon being informed of the slow access to company applications, that the reason was the improper use of the computer; the employee was fairly dismissed.
  • Dismissal deemed unfair. The Supreme Court Judgment dated May 24, 2012, reflects that there was no prior protocol for computer use, nor was the worker warned about what the correct use should be; on the contrary, it is known that the company was aware of the use of this tool for purposes other than work since the administrator occupied the adjacent office to the actor’s, from where he could observe its use. This person knew that the worker used the internet, whose use he even authorized for purposes other than work, without there being a decrease in performance as the worker, while on sick leave, accessed the computer system and email account for work-related matters.

Time management software - free trial

Table of Contents

Artículos relacionados