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PIP gone wrong

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Legal news
calendar 27 August 2023
globus Denmark

An employee worked as a project assistant at a technology company for 28 years. Generally, she had been performing well over the years, but the last year the evaluations took a turn for the worse. However, she received notice of termination after a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) and a written warning. Despite its efforts, the company had not handled the termination correctly, and she was entitled to compensation.

A project assistant worked at a technology company for 28 years. Generally, the employee had been evaluated well by the company, but that changed. During a meeting in springtime, she was told that her behavior was no longer satisfactory.

Just over a month later, the company initiated a Performance Improvement Plan for the employee to focus on what she needed to change. Among other things, it was part of the plan that two monthly follow-up meetings would be held, with the last meeting scheduled right before her summer holidays.

However, the company did not document that the meetings had been held. Instead, the employee received a written warning on the date the last meeting was supposedly held. The warning referred to the same issues, and consequently, another follow-up meeting was scheduled for the end of August.

Shortly after, the employee had her summer holiday, and when she returned to work, a follow-up meeting was held. About two weeks later, she received notice of termination.

Long leash for long seniority

When the written warning was issued, it was clear that there were cooperation issues. However, the employee had tried to improve her behavior and was told at a follow-up meeting that she was on the right track. Also, her behavior had not worsened in the period after the meeting or before the termination. Therefore, the termination was unjustified.

In light of her long seniority of 28 years and the upcoming summer holiday, she should have been given more time to improve. Further, she should have been given a more detailed explanation of what she needed to improve. According to the judge, the cooperation issues were not serious enough at the time of termination.

Besides that, the company had not examined whether the employee could be offered relocation. At the time, there was even a vacant position that she could have been offered. This might have solved the cooperation difficulties.

IUNO’s opinion

When companies terminate employees who have been employed for plus 25 years, it often leads to stricter requirements. It may be necessary to prove whether the company can let another employee go instead or whether the employee can be offered relocation to another position.

IUNO recommends that companies give written warnings to the employees they want to terminate when the circumstances are related to the employee. However, such warnings must be clear and explicit about what the issue is and what needs to be improved. It is also important that the employee is given time to improve. Oppositely, the company should not give the employee too much time and risk that the employee gets the wrong impression that things are improving if they are not.

[The Danish Board of Dismissals judgment of 1 May 2023 in case 20221030]

A project assistant worked at a technology company for 28 years. Generally, the employee had been evaluated well by the company, but that changed. During a meeting in springtime, she was told that her behavior was no longer satisfactory.

Just over a month later, the company initiated a Performance Improvement Plan for the employee to focus on what she needed to change. Among other things, it was part of the plan that two monthly follow-up meetings would be held, with the last meeting scheduled right before her summer holidays.

However, the company did not document that the meetings had been held. Instead, the employee received a written warning on the date the last meeting was supposedly held. The warning referred to the same issues, and consequently, another follow-up meeting was scheduled for the end of August.

Shortly after, the employee had her summer holiday, and when she returned to work, a follow-up meeting was held. About two weeks later, she received notice of termination.

Long leash for long seniority

When the written warning was issued, it was clear that there were cooperation issues. However, the employee had tried to improve her behavior and was told at a follow-up meeting that she was on the right track. Also, her behavior had not worsened in the period after the meeting or before the termination. Therefore, the termination was unjustified.

In light of her long seniority of 28 years and the upcoming summer holiday, she should have been given more time to improve. Further, she should have been given a more detailed explanation of what she needed to improve. According to the judge, the cooperation issues were not serious enough at the time of termination.

Besides that, the company had not examined whether the employee could be offered relocation. At the time, there was even a vacant position that she could have been offered. This might have solved the cooperation difficulties.

IUNO’s opinion

When companies terminate employees who have been employed for plus 25 years, it often leads to stricter requirements. It may be necessary to prove whether the company can let another employee go instead or whether the employee can be offered relocation to another position.

IUNO recommends that companies give written warnings to the employees they want to terminate when the circumstances are related to the employee. However, such warnings must be clear and explicit about what the issue is and what needs to be improved. It is also important that the employee is given time to improve. Oppositely, the company should not give the employee too much time and risk that the employee gets the wrong impression that things are improving if they are not.

[The Danish Board of Dismissals judgment of 1 May 2023 in case 20221030]

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Anders

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Søren

Hessellund Klausen

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Kirsten

Astrup

Managing associate (on leave)

Cecillie

Groth Henriksen

Senior associate

Johan

Gustav Dein

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The team

Alexandra

Jensen

Legal advisor

Anders

Etgen Reitz

Partner

Caroline

Thorsen

Junior legal assistant

Cecillie

Groth Henriksen

Senior associate

Johan

Gustav Dein

Associate

Julie

Meyer

Senior legal assistant

Kirsten

Astrup

Managing associate (on leave)

Maria

Kjærsgaard Juhl

Legal advisor

Rikke

Grønlund Holm

Senior associate

Sofie

Aurora Braut Bache

Managing associate

Søren

Hessellund Klausen

Partner