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Italy - Substantive requirements for dismissals

Substantive requirements for dismissals (justified and prohibited grounds) - Italy - 2017    

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Obligation to provide reasons to the employee: Yes
  • Art. 2 Act 604/1966 as amended by art. 1.37 of the Act 92/2012.

    As from Act 92/2012, reason of termination must be provided within the termination letter when the termination letter is served. Before Act 92/2012, the employee could request the justification within 15 days from the notification and the employer had 7 days to reply.

Valid grounds (justified dismissal): any fair reasons
  • A dismissal is unfair unless it is for a just cause (no notice required) or a justified motive (notice required)
    See art. 1 and 3 Act 604/1966 and art. 2119 CC.

    Under art. 2119 C.C., 'just cause', in broad terms, requires very grave conduct which, when evaluated both subjectively and objectively, constitutes a serious and irremediable reason that prevents the parties to continue the employment relationship even on an interim basis. Whether such a breach has occurred would normally have to be determined ultimately by a court, taking all relevant factors into account.
    Justified reason is defined as a very significant breach of contract made on the side of the employee (subjective justified reason) as well as ; or reasons inherent in the production process, the organization of work or the smooth running of the undertaking (objective justified reason) (sec. 3, Act 604).

Prohibited grounds: marital status; pregnancy; maternity leave; family responsibilities; filing a complaint against the employer; race; sex; sexual orientation; religion; political opinion; age; trade union membership and activities; disabilities; exercise of a right; parental leave; participation in a lawful strike; whistle blowing; adoption leave
  • Art. 15 and Art. 18 Act 300/1970, as amended by Law 92/2012 .
    Art. 3 Act 604/1966
    Art. 35 Legislative Decree 198/2006
    Art. 54 Legislative Decree 151/2001
    Art. 18 (1) Act 53/2000.

Workers enjoying special protection: workers' representatives; pregnant women and/or women on maternity leave; workers with family responsibilities
  • - Worker's representatives: there is a protection in art. 28 Act 300/1970 (workers' statute) which provides for specific simplified procedure for reinstatement following unfair dismissal. Specific remedies are also provided under Art. 18 Act 300/1970

    - Pregnant women, women on maternity leave, women with family responsibilities: see Legislative Decree 151 of 2001 on the protection of maternity and paternity. According to art. 54, dismissal is prohibited form the beginning of the pregnancy and up to a maximum of one year after the birth of the child.
    This prohibition does not however prevent an employer for dismissing a female employee in the event of serious misconduct (just cause) or in case of cessation of the activities of the employer.

    - Workers on paternity leave equally benefit from the protection against dismissal. (note however that under Italian law, a worker is entitled to paternity leave in limited situations: death of the mother, serious disability or abandonment by the mother or exclusive custody of the child to the father).

    - The prohibition of dismissal has also been extended to cover adoption leave (up until one year after the child has entered the family).