Dismissal for inappropriate behavior at the company Christmas lunch or dinner
Can I get fired if I behave inappropriately at the company Christmas lunch or dinner?
We are at the time of the year in which the Christmas lunches or dinners organized by the company are celebrated. These meetings are usually the perfect excuse so that, in addition to congratulating and acknowledging the efforts of the workers for their work, personal ties are strengthened between the workers of the work center/s.
However, we have to be careful with what we can do or say because what started out as a fun afternoon or night can turn into a moment to want to forget since, < strong>our conduct, may have employment consequences.
In this regard, the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid has already ruled in its Judgment No. 313/2012, of April 2, 2012, rec. 4320/2011, recognizing as appropriate the dismissal of a worker who behaved inappropriately during the Christmas dinner organized by the company.
We are faced with a case in which, during dinner, one of the company workers repeatedly hit another worker with a glass object , causing a head injury for which he required medical attention.
The Chamber understands that such an act constitutes a serious and culpable breach of contract, classified as a legitimizing cause for disciplinary dismissal in article 54.2.c) of the Workers Statute since it is configured as a physical offense and that, even if such a circumstance occurred during the Christmas party, it does not change the work and professional environment in which the celebration took place.
Sentence that has served as a contrasting sentence to the Supreme Court to issue, for example, a recent Sentence, No. 494/2022, of May 31, 2022, rec. 1819/2020, in which the dismissal of a worker is declared admissible, not only for assaulting a co-worker but for using insults at another of the workers, insults that reached a discriminatory bias due to of the breed.
For the Supreme Court, and this is the doctrine with which we must stick, the affectation and link of the imputed conduct with the employment relationship is clear, since it affects other colleagues of the company, affecting the coexistence between them and the reputation of the employer himself, ultimately resulting in their detriment. The events that took place irreparably conditioned the labor relations between the workers and also deteriorated the image of the business entity, causing its discredit in front of third parties (in the case there is a subsequent intervention by the owner of the restaurant informing the previous situation triggered by the fired worker).
The insults poured (we have already pointed out that they reached a discriminatory bias due to race), and the offenses of work, for the Supreme Court have transcended private relations, attacking the dignity of the co-workers themselves and having repercussions on the company itself, so that the circumstances of the place where they occurred, or that their origin was a disagreement over the slot machine, cannot in this case weaken the disciplinary sanction of dismissal and its qualification of procedente.
However, each case is a different case, which will require an individualized analysis of the behaviors, without forgetting the importance of the geographical element outside the workplace</ strong>, as demonstrated by the recent case of the Supreme Court that we bring up, which deserved the qualification of origin to the Madrid court and of inadmissibility to the TSJ (which in 2012, however, had ruled the origin in another case of similar nature).
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