Finance

Municipality may fire lounging, drinking civil servant

The civil servant had been working for the municipality of Landgraaf since 1979, but suddenly got into trouble in 2018 after someone reported to his employer that a car from the municipality was regularly parked on the side of the road, in which people were doing nothing. .

Investigate corporate investigation

The municipality then had the car in question tracked by Hoffmann Bedrijfsrecherche with a GPS tracker. This showed that in a period of five months the car had indeed stopped for half an hour to an hour before the end of working hours at locations that had nothing to do with work.

An examination of his time sheets showed that the driver of the company car had entered that time as working hours. In one case, during an observation, the officer was observed drinking two half-liter cans of beer.

Penalty release

When confronted with the findings during an interview, the man acknowledged that he sometimes stopped with his company car an hour before the end of his working day to pass the time, and sometimes had a beer.

The civil servant was subsequently suspended by the municipality and subsequently dismissed for serious neglect of duty. In addition, his employer pointed to prohibited alcohol consumption during working hours, theft of hours and fraud with work slips.

fast worker

After his objection to the sentence was rejected by the municipality, the official went to court to protest. There he pointed out, among other things, that he worked faster and harder than colleagues, so that his work was finished earlier. That way he would have time left, which he killed in his company car.

However, the Limburg court was not impressed. In the February 2020 ruling, the judge emphasized that the civil servant must perform work during his working hours.

“It is not the intention that he gives a different interpretation on his own initiative by parking his vehicle somewhere for half an hour to an hour to sit out his time until the end of his working day.”

Appeal

The judge also did not find that the municipality should have given the civil servant a warning before the dismissal. However, the man did not give up and appealed.

Before the Central Appeals Board (CRvB), the official argued, among other things, that he should never have been followed. The Supreme Administrative Court disagreed. Because the observations were limited to the public space and working time, there would be no violation of his privacy either.

The man also stated that officials from the municipality of Landgraaf often stop working early and drink alcohol during working hours. According to the CRvB, if that were true at all, it is irrelevant in this case. “After all, the official appears to be responsible for his own reprehensible actions.”

Significant consequences

The CRvB does recognize that the civil servant has a long track record and that he functioned well, and that the financial consequences of the dismissal are far-reaching for him. However, the administrative judge does not consider the penalty disproportionately severe.

Because the dismissal is the result of culpable behaviour, the civil servant probably did not receive a severance payment, nor can he claim unemployment benefits.

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