Employers increasingly hesitant about conflict with employee, dismissal
Due to personnel shortages in large parts of the Dutch labor market, employers have become very cautious about conflicts with and dismissal of their employees, according to insurer Achmea’s legal aid department SAR’s annual Legal Barometer. The number of legal disputes about work and dismissal cases fell sharply in the past year, Trouw reports.
In 2020, SAR, which provides legal assistance to about 1.3 million insured households and companies, handled over 34,000 legal conflicts about work. Last year, it had over 24,000 cases. The number of dismissal cases dropped from over 13,000 in 2020 to 5,500 last year.
According to Ilona Renet of SAR, these figures clearly show that employees are in a strong position if they threaten to come into a conflict within the company where they work. They also have more choices. “They are more likely to look for another job if a dispute threatens to arise,” she said to Trouw.
The Legal Barometer also reflects other issues in society, such as the war in Ukraine, the high energy prices, sustainability concerns, and the end of the coronavirus pandemic. “Legal requests for help give a good picture of the state of affairs in society,” SAR said.
SAR registered 41 percent more conflicts about renovations last year than in 2021, for example. Some were common issues, like hidden defects that come to light after delivery. But there was a sharp increase in conflicts because contractors took longer to complete the work than promised. That has to do with staff shortages and longer delivery times for building materials, partly as a result of the war. Increased construction costs also caused more conflicts last year.
The legal aid department saw similar disputes around sustainability measures, like solar panels and heat pumps. But on top of them were also neighbor quarrels about heat pumps placed against the outside wall causing a noise nuisance and solar panels falling under the shade of a neighbor’s tree, for example.
The end of coronavirus restrictions resulted in fewer neighbor quarrels as a whole. Online shopping decreased a bit after the pandemic, but disputes about it did not. SAR handled many conflicts about the quality of the delivered goods and late delivery.