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According to the Employment Contracts Act, an employee who has neglected or breached the obligations arising from the employment relationship may not be dismissed until they have been given an opportunity to rectify their conduct with a warning.

Before dismissal, the employee must also be heard about the grounds for terminating the employment contract and it must be clarified whether the termination can be avoided by placing the employee in other work duties. If the reason for dismissal is such a serious breach of the employment relationship that the employer cannot reasonably be expected to continue the contractual relationship, the above-mentioned regulations do not need to be complied with.

The warning may be given either orally or in writing. A written warning can later be substantiated, if necessary. The employer can request that the employee signs the warning, in which case the employee will confirm receipt of the warning.

The purpose of the warning is to inform the employee of how serious the employer considers the employee’s conduct to be and to remind them of the consequences if the violation is repeated. The purpose of the warning is also to give the employee the opportunity to correct their actions. For this reason, the warning should indicate the reason for which it was issued. The reason for the warning may be, for example, unauthorised absence, inadequate work performance or inappropriate behaviour. A mere general statement, such as “work performance requires improvement”, is not sufficient. The warning must also indicate that the violation may lead to termination of employment if repeated.

The law does not stipulate the number of warnings, but even a single warning is enough. The warning must be given within a reasonable time after the employer has been informed of the violation. In addition, the employer must treat employees consistently and equally. The mode of operation in the enterprise must be followed for all employees. The warning is only given when using termination grounds related to the employee.

I received what I think is an unfounded warning, what can I do?

The employer decides whether to issue a warning. An employee does not have the opportunity to submit a warning received during the employment relationship for assessment by a court of justice, for example.

If you think that the warning given to you is unfounded and, for example, you do not think that the claims made in it are true, you should prepare a response to it, which you will then submit to the employer. It is advisable to prepare the response in writing and in such a way that you yourself also have a copy of it.

However, regardless of the response, the employer always decides whether to withdraw the warning. Ultimately, the grounds for the warning will be legally assessed in the event that you are later dismissed due to the warning. You can read more about warnings here.