Employment Contracts Act (ECA), adopted in December 2008 and entered into force in July 2009, consolidated version including amendment of 28 April 2017, effective since 8 May 2017. The link provided is in English, updated up to 2012 Date: 28 Apr 2017; view website » (view in NATLEX»)
Equal Treatment Act [ETA], dated 11 December 2008 (RT I 2008, 56, 315), entered into force 1 January 2009 Date: 11 Dec 2008; view website » (view in NATLEX»)
Individual Labour Dispute Resolution Act [ILDRA], dated 20 December 1995, consolidated version dated March 2003 Date: Mar 2003; view website » (view in NATLEX»)
Obligation to provide reasons to the employee: Yes
Under the ECA, an employer can terminate an employment contract (referred to in the law as "extraordinary cancellation") only for a good reason as provided for in this Act and in accordance with the statutory prior notice requirements (art. 87 ECA). The ECA provides a list of valid reasons for termination of employment by the employer which fall within 2 categories: reasons relating to the employee personally (art. 88 ECA) and economic reasons (art. 89 ECA). Reasons relating to the employee personally: - decrease in capacity for work due to the state of health, - decrease of capacity for work due to insufficient work skills, - breach of duties, - appearance at work in a state of intoxication, - commission of a theft, fraud or an act bringing about the loss of the employer's trust in the employee, - bringing about a third party's distrust in the employee, - wrongfully causing damages to the employer's property, - violation of the obligation to maintain confidentiality or violation of the restraint of trade clauses. Economic reasons: - if the continuance of the employment relationship on the agreed conditions becomes impossible due to a decrease in the work volume, reorganisation of work or other cessation of work (lay-off).
Prohibited grounds: pregnancy; maternity leave; family responsibilities; race; colour; sex; sexual orientation; religion; nationality/national origin; age; trade union membership and activities; disabilities; performing military or civil service; state of health; ethnic origin
Anti-discrimination provisions: The Equal Treatment Act prohibits discrimination on the grounds of of nationality (ethnic origin), race, colour, religion or other beliefs, age, disability or sexual orientation in certain areas including in relation to employment and specifically refers to termination of employment (see art. 1(1) together with art. 2(1)2) and 2(2)2) ETA). In addition the Gender Equality Act establishes the prohibition on discrimination based on sex (which also cover pregnancy and child-birth, parenting, performance of family obligations or other circumstances related to gender, and sexual harassment) in the professional life including in relation to termination of employment (see art. 6(7) of the Act)
Specific prohibited grounds for dismissal: Art. 92 ECA prohibits dismissal for the following reasons: - the employee is pregnant or has the right to pregnancy and maternity leave; - the employee performs important family duties; - the employee is not able, in the short term, to perform his/her duties due to his/her state of health; - the employee represents other employees; - a full-time employee does not want to continue working part-time or a part-time employee does not want to continue working full-time; - the employee is in military service or alternative service. If an employer terminates the employment contract of a pregnant woman or a employee raising a child under three years of age, it is presumed that such termination was based on pregnancy or family responsibilities, unless the employer proves that termination was based on a reason permitted under the ECA. Similarly, if an employer terminates the employment contract of employees' representative during their term of office or within one year of the expiry of his/her term of office, it is presumed that such termination was based on the fact that he/she represents other employees unless the employer proves that termination was based on a reason permitted under the ECA.
Workers enjoying special protection: workers' representatives; pregnant women and/or women on maternity leave; workers with family responsibilities
- Pregnant women and workers with family responsibilities: Art. 93 ECA prohibits the employer from making redundant a pregnant woman or a woman who has the right to pregnancy and maternity leave or a person who is on parental leave or on adoption leave, except in the event of cessation of activities or bankruptcy. In addition, its is prohibited to dismiss a pregnant woman or a woman who has the right to pregnancy and maternity leave due to a decrease of the employee's capacity for work. These prohibitions only apply if the employee has notified the employer of her pregnancy or the right to pregnancy and maternity leave before receipt of a cancellation notice or within 14 days thereafter.
- Workers' representatives: Art. 94 ECA provides that before terminating an employment contract with the employees' representative, an employer must seek the opinions of the trade union or the employees who elected him/her the person to represent them or the trade union. The employer is required to take that opinion reasonably into account and to provide justification if he/she disregards the employees' opinion.