Law Maps™: A new map has arrived. An international study on the remedies available for unfair individual dismissal

Law Maps™: A new map has arrived. An international study on the remedies available for unfair individual dismissal
13 Oct 2017

What do the laws of other countries provide for?

Law Maps™ - Remedies for individual unfair dismissal


Compensation is the prevalent remedy available in case of individual unfair dismissal. This is the conclusion that emerged from the study carried out by Toffoletto De Luca Tamajo, one of the largest leading Italian law firms specialising and assisting companies in employment law, industrial relations and commercial agency agreements.

The study, which involved 41 countries from all over the world, only considered the sanctions applied to medium/large-size companies in case of individual unfair dismissal. In fact, the sanctions applied in cases of dismissal of executives, trade union representatives, or employees of small companies were all excluded from the study, as were the sanctions provided for dismissal relating to discrimination, procedural violation or for termination of a fixed-term contract. The results are exhibited in the new Law Map published today, which joins those already developed by the firm in 2016 concerning minimum wage, social security contributions and non-compete agreements.                              

From an analysis of the map, it should be noted how, on an international level, only a minority of countries provide for reinstatement as the sole remedy available. This is the case for Austria, Germany, Norway, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Slovakia and Romania; or in other countries like Russia, Panama or Portugal, where the worker can nevertheless opt for the payment of compensation in lieu of reinstatement (as was the case in Italy until the 2012 reform).

It is also necessary to underline the fact that even if compensation and reinstatement are both provided for by legislation, in the majority of countries included in the study, the latter remedy is hardly ever applied in practice. This is particularly the case for France, Spain, UK, Australia, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Hungary, and even in Mexico, Turkey, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Whereas, in Switzerland, Finland, Belgium, Argentina and Chile, compensation is completely omitted and the only possible remedy is the payment of compensation to the worker, the amount of which varies from country to country. For example, in Finland, the compensation amount may go up to 24 months’ salary while, in Switzerland, the maximum amount of compensation is equal to 6 months’ salary.

A special mention should be made for the United States which, to date, is the only country (included in the study) in which there is no sanction applied whatsoever, considering that dismissal, save for some specific exceptions, may be served at any moment, even without notice or justification.