Employment relationships are not always smooth sailing. Employees regularly make claims against their employer: payment of overtime, measures to protect their personality against mobbing, salary increases, requests for vacation time, etc.
However, when faced with an employee who is considered to be a claimant, the employer is sometimes tempted to dismiss him. This is commonly known as "revenge leave" or "retaliation leave".
To ensure that employees are not discouraged from asserting their rights against their employer, they are protected to a certain extent against dismissal. The employee must first have made a claim against the employer in good faith. If the employer dismisses the employee for this reason, the employer risks a lot. Under certain conditions, the employee can claim compensation for wrongful dismissal.
If the employer has also violated his contractual duties in advance, the risks are increased. This may be the case when the employer does not take adequate measures to deal with a situation of sexual harassment or mobbing and then dismisses the employee when he or she avails him/herself of his/her rights.
Equality between women and men
The Law on Equality between Women and Men provides for a certain number of rights to which the employee may avail herself, including, in particular, equal pay. A female employee who asserts such a claim enjoys special protection. In addition to compensation, the employee can ask to be reinstated to her job, under certain conditions.
An employee witnesses malfeasance by his or her supervisor or inappropriate behavior by a colleague towards a client or patient. He can and must, depending on the circumstances, denounce these abuses. Yes, but to whom? Is he/she protected against a reprisal leave from an employer who did not appreciate these denunciations? The "whistleblower" is in a delicate position.
The employment contract is not immutable and must be adapted to the needs of the parties. Particularly in times of economic crisis, the employer must sometimes modify the employment contracts of his or her employees to their disadvantage.
The employer must follow a certain procedure. Otherwise, if the employer dismisses an employee because he or she has not agreed to these changes, the dismissal may be qualified as a reprisal leave.
When confronted with a reprisal leave, the employee must react promptly, object to the dismissal and request the reasons for the dismissal. The employee will have to initiate legal action within a certain period of time.