The 58-year-old Peters was discredited last year when it turned out that De Volkskrant had fired him after complaints about the way in which he had maintained contacts with often young, novice writers who depended on favorable reviews.
In addition, he said he would review their books, revealed that they had been nominated for a prize and directed personal meetings. In the messages he used words like ‘dear’, ‘kind regards’, ‘love’, ‘sweetheart’ and ‘excuse me’.
In September last year, the Amsterdam subdistrict court ruled that his attitude towards the writers was not serious enough to dismiss the reviewer.
But because he subsequently did not tell the truth about this, De Volkskrant was allowed to kick him out as a result of lost confidence. The newspaper publisher had to pay him a severance payment of 32,000 euros.
Peters announced at the time that he would appeal, and he has now won.
According to the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, his messages to the writers were too bold and it is understandable that the authors were bothered by this. According to the court, it can be attributed to Peters that he was insufficiently aware of the impact. But according to the court there is no question of abuse of his dominant position.
The court also ruled that the reviewer did not knowingly lie about the issue when he was questioned about it by his employer.
Because De Volkskrant wrongly canceled its trust in Peters and fired him, the publisher must now pay him 370,000 euros in damages. This so-called ‘fair compensation’ comes on top of the previously awarded severance pay, as a result of which the reviewer receives a total of more than 4 tons.
De Volkskrant does not want to say much about the lost lawsuit. “At this stage, we limit ourselves to announcing that we are carefully studying the decision,” says deputy editor-in-chief Annieke Kranenberg.