An employee hired under a permanent contract lodged a claim against his former employer alleging, among other, that he had been dismissed verbally and that his dismissal was ipso facto unfair.
The employer asserted that he dismissed his employee on March 24, 2020, prior to the alleged oral dismissal, with prior notice, by sending a registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt to the employee’s private address.
It appeared that the employee was no longer living at such address when the letter of dismissal was sent out.
The Court of Appeal in a decision N°43/22 rendered on March 24, 2022 recalled that when an employer sends a dismissal letter to the address given to him by his employee, the notification of the dismissal is valid, the employee having an obligation to inform his employer about any changes of his private address.
In order to challenge the validity of the notification of the dismissal, the employee had to prove (i) that he was not living anymore at the address where the dismissal letter was sent and (ii) that he had duly informed his employer about his new private address.
Failing to demonstrate those two conditions , the Court decided that the notification at the address given by the employee to his employer was valid and that the dismissal with prior notice took full effects on March 24, 2020.
The employee also claimed that the dismissal was to be considered unfair and resulting in a loss for the employee to be compensated by the employer, in case the notification was to be considered as valid. The Court of Appeal rejected this claim (i.e. demande irrecevable), because it was considered as a new claim (“demande nouvelle”).
Indeed, for the Court of Appeal, a claim for damages based on a dismissal with prior notice is different by its cause from a claim for damages based on an oral dismissal, as initially raised by the employee in the summons.
The dismissal with prior notice having put an end to the permanent contract, the alleged verbal dismissal couldn’t have any effects, so that the Court of Appeal didn’t analyze the claim based on the oral dismissal.
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