The employer may terminate an employment contract only with a proper and weighty reason. The following reasons can be considered as proper and weighty reasons for termination arising from the employee or related to the employee’s person

  • serious breach or neglect of obligations arising from the employment contract or the law, having essential impact on the employment relationship or
  • such essential changes in the conditions necessary for working related to the employee’s person that render the employee no more able to cope with his or her work duties.

The properness and weightiness of the reason are subject to an overall assessment. In the assessment, the number of employees working for the employer and the employer’s and the employee’s overall circumstances shall be taken into account.

In principle, using termination grounds related to the employee’s person requires a warning. Employees who have neglected their duties arising from the employment relationship or committed a breach thereof shall not be given notice before they have been warned and given a chance to amend their conduct.

Before the employer terminates an employment contract, the employer shall provide the employee with an opportunity to be heard concerning the grounds for termination. The employee is entitled to resort to an assistant when being heard.

The employer shall, before giving notice, find out whether it is possible to avoid giving notice by placing the employee in other work.

Should the reason for termination be such a grave breach related to the employment relationship as to render it unreasonable to require that the employer continue the contractual relationship, the warning must not be given nor to find out whether the employee could be placed in other work.

At least the following cannot be regarded as proper and weighty reasons:

1) illness, disability or accident affecting the employee, unless working capacity is substantially reduced thereby for such a long term as to render it unreasonable to require that the employer continue the contractual relationship;

2) participation of the employee in industrial action arranged by an employee organisation or in accordance with the Collective Agreements Act;

3) the employee’s political, religious or other opinions or participation in social activity or associations;

4) resort to means of legal protection available to employees.

The employer shall not terminate an employment contract on the basis of the employee’s pregnancy or because the employee is exercising his or her right to the family leave.

The employer shall be entitled to terminate the employment contract of a shop steward or of an elected representative, on the basis of grounds related to the employee’s person only if a majority of the employees whom the shop steward or the elected representative represents agree.