Breach of contract: why refuse and what are the disadvantages?

Conventional severance is the only reason for terminating an employment contract that entitles the employee to unemployment benefits.

It is therefore much requested by employees, but often refused. Either by the employer, or by the administration.

What are the grounds for refusing a contractual termination?

By the employer…

  • The employer may consider the request abusive or unfair. For example, if the employee has applied for a “rupture conventionnelle” in order to circumvent a dismissal procedure for serious misconduct.
  • It jeopardizes the continuity of the company if it is contrary to the company’s interests. For example, if the employee is the only one to possess certain skills that are vital to the company.
  • The employment contract does not allow this. For example, it is not possible to terminate a fixed-term contract by mutual agreement.
  • The employee’s situation is not favorable: sick leave, maternity leave, etc.
  • The claim is deemed too high for the company.

By the administration…

  • The “rupture conventionnelle” was signed under duress or by mistake.
  • The employer did not respect the legal cooling-off period.
  • The “rupture conventionnelle” does not provide sufficient compensation for the employee.
  • The “rupture conventionnelle” is signed during a period of employee protection (e.g. maternity leave, occupational illness, etc.).
  • The contractual termination concerns a protected employee (for example, a staff representative) and has not been validated by the labor inspectorate.

It is important to note that the “rupture conventionnelle” must be negotiated in good faith by both parties, and must be justified by legitimate reasons. If either party fails to comply with these conditions, the contractual termination agreement may be annulled by the courts. If the employer refuses the contractual termination without legitimate grounds, the employee can contest this refusal in court.

But beware, there are several disadvantages to refusing the employer’s request for a “rupture conventionnelle”…

  • If the employee decides to go to court to contest the refusal of the “rupture conventionnelle”, this may entail legal costs for the company.
  • Refusing to accept a “rupture conventionnelle” can lead to a deterioration in the working relationship with the employee, and may even lead to conflict within the company.
  • The employer risks damaging its reputation and brand image. Leaving on good terms is very important.
  • Wasting time on pointless negotiations and keeping employees demotivated.
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