The Czech Supreme Court recently decided that the conduct of an employee, who signed in to work in the morning and left immediately after that only to return at the end of the business day to sign out, constitutes a gross violation of employee’s duties under the provisions of the Czech Labour Code.
Under section 301 of the Czech Labour Code, trust, reliability and honesty are essential characteristics of the relationship between an employer and an employee and are closely related to the employee’s duty to behave so as to not cause any damage to the employer, whether material or moral. The conduct of an employee represents an attempt to obtain remuneration from the employer without providing the employer with any consideration. Such a gross violation of the employee’s duties may, according to the court’s view, in the majority of cases, lead to immediate termination of employment.
The court ruled that an attack on the property of an employer can be either direct (e.g., theft, damage, abuse, etc.) or indirect (e.g. attempt to drain part of the employer's assets without adequate compensation), while both kinds should be, in the majority of cases, considered to be a gross violation of the employee’s duty arising from legal regulations related to the work the employee performs. When assessing the intensity of the employee’s breach of discipline, the employer needs to take into account whether the duties were violated repeatedly and what was the employee’s position.
The Czech law defines employment termination reasons rather generally. When deciding about the validity of termination of employment, courts tend to assess all individual particularities on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, the Czech case law does not give many general examples where there are no doubts that employment will be terminated lawfully. While the ruling of the recent judgment may seem to be obvious, it has significantly strengthened legal clarity and the position of an employer if it contemplates terminating employment due to the fact that an employee has acted against its property.