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It is always difficult to dismiss an employee.
In order to avoid legal disputes at an early stage, it is important to proceed in a legally correct manner when giving notice and to stick to the applicable notice period.
The calculation of such is not always easy, for example, when your employee gets sick or pregnant, a termination can be invalid or the notice period can be substantially extended.
In addition, lawfy checks whether a termination agreement would be more advantageous for the specific situation.
In Switzerland, unlike other European countries, dismissals are subject to the “principle of freedom of dismissal”. This means that notices of termination are given for any reason.
In order not to fall into any labour law pitfalls, employers should nevertheless take a few things into account. To ensure that the termination of an employee by the employer does not have any legal consequences for the company, the following in particular should be observed:
1. notice periods and acknowledgement of receipt
Notices of termination shall only be deemed effective when the recipient has also received them. Sounds simple, but can easily lead to problems. The following applies to notices: It is not the date of dispatch but the date of receipt that is relevant. If a notice is received late, the employment relationship is extended until the next notice date.
Therefore, as an employer you should ensure that notices of termination are verifiably received. There are several ways to do this: Dispatch by registered mail, signing of the receipt by the dismissed employee or personal delivery of the letter of dismissal in the presence of witnesses.
2. abusive dismissal
As already mentioned, the principle of freedom of dismissal applies in Switzerland. Although a dismissal may be given for any reason, it may be abusive under certain circumstances. For example, it is not permitted to dismiss someone because of personal characteristics (age, religion, etc.) or because someone makes claims, such as the legal right to continued salary payments or a contractually guaranteed bonus.
In the event of abusive dismissal, the employee has the right to claim compensation up to a maximum of six months’ wages.
3. protection against dismissal
There are times or situations in which the employer is not allowed to dismiss the employee – so-called “lock-up periods”. A notice of termination given during a blocking period is invalid.
In Switzerland, the following blocking reasons and associated periods apply in particular:
Swiss military, protection or civil service:
for the entire duration of the service. If the military, protection or civilian service lasts longer than 11 days, the period of restriction begins 4 weeks before the start of the service and lasts until 4 weeks after the end of the service.
It is also possible that a notice of termination is given before the blocking period, but that a blocking reason occurs during the notice period. The notice of termination is then valid, but the notice period is interrupted and only continued when the reason for blocking ceases to apply.
The calculation of the above-mentioned blocking periods or the interruption of blocking periods is complex in practice. Have them checked by our legal experts and a letter of termination drawn up which is legally effective.