Italy: Employment Law Newsletter | February 2024

In brief

This publication outlines the latest employment developments in Italy, featuring recent court decisions on dismissals and disciplinary actions against employees. 

New laws and regulations

Employment Law Alert: Special Edition No. 55

On 1 January 2024, a number of new HR related provisions entered into force. You can find a summary of the most relevant new laws and regulation in our special edition newsletter here.

Case law developments

A disproportionate dismissal for disciplinary reasons is not automatically retaliation

In a recent ruling, the Italian Supreme Court ruled that a dismissal for disciplinary reasons, even if disproportionate in light of the nature of the breach committed by the employee, does not automatically result in retaliation, provided that the breach of duties actually existed. In fact, it is up to the labour court to assess whether or not a disciplinary measure is adequate. In this regard, the Supreme Court pointed out that, in order for the dismissal to be considered retaliatory, it is necessary that the employee's conduct has only an apparent or very modest disciplinary relevance, such that the mere punitive, retaliatory nature of the dismissal is evident.

Dismissal for prolonged sickness and holiday leaves

The Italian Supreme Court clarified that, if an employee on sick leave interrupts the leave and takes accrued annual holidays, these holidays cannot be taken into account when calculating the period of guaranteed sickness during which an employee cannot be dismissed. According to the reasoning of the Court, holidays and sick leave have completely different purposes and taking into account holidays when assessing the length of sickness would be unlawful.

Slander against colleagues on the Internet

Calling a co-worker a "freak" on Facebook or other social networks is not a criminal offence. The Italian Supreme Court clarified this point, ruling that this offensive comment does not integrate the crime of slander, although the conduct may represent a breach that is relevant from a disciplinary point of view and may be punished from an employment law standpoint.

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