The man had worked as an IT employee for the company since 1982, whose name has been anonymized in the judgment. On May 25, he attempted to kiss the company’s receptionist. She then went to her employer with great emotion.
During a conversation with human resources, the man confirmed that he had tried to kiss the receptionist. According to him, he had spoken to the woman on the way out, and had wanted to kiss her on the cheek to say goodbye.
However, the receptionist stated that the man had wanted to kiss her on the mouth. She also stated that he had continued with his attempt after she had indicated that she was not pleased by turning away and covering her face. The kiss eventually ended up in her hair.
The woman also indicated that she felt threatened, all the more so because no one else was present in the building.
The employer fired the man on the spot, because he allegedly created an unsafe working environment for the receptionist through his attempted kiss. The company also pointed out that he had violated the anti-corona rules.
Due to the instant dismissal, the man not only lost his job, but also his right to unemployment benefits.
The employee then went to court, where he argued that his employer had punished him far too severely.
According to the man, his statement about the incident was distorted, and he was therefore wrongly accused. According to him, his employer should have sufficed with a reprimand or suspension, partly in view of his long and otherwise impeccable employment of 39 years and the fact that his retirement was in sight.
Claim a quarter of a million euros
The man accepted that he had lost his job, but demanded severance payments and compensation for a total of more than 267,000 euros due to unfair dismissal.
The kissable employee was not only blunt with the receptionist, but also with the subdistrict court in Utrecht, according to a ruling that became public on Friday.
Although the subdistrict court recognizes that the instant dismissal is a harsh punishment in view of the man’s circumstances, it still ruled that the measure was justified.
“However good his track record was and however difficult the consequence of a dismissal on the eve of retirement, these circumstances cannot justify his actions in this case,” said the judge.
Whether he wanted to kiss the woman on the mouth or cheek is irrelevant, according to the judge. Because the company rightly dismissed the man with immediate effect, he is not entitled to the required dismissal and compensation.
The employee’s lawyer Catharina Mens says that the employee will appeal. “He completely disagrees with the dismissal and the ruling. He wanted to give a friendly goodbye kiss. This ruling has very far-reaching consequences, such as missing out on his transition payment and entitlement to unemployment benefits.”
The company’s employer and lawyer could not be reached for an explanation today.