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In order to keep our clients up to date, we regularly organize employment law workshops on the latest news and/or changes in the law. We do this for HR managers, personnel consultants and regular clients. We also organize these inspirational sessions on request, tailored to your individual needs, and also meet our clients at their offices for a lunch session or working breakfast, for example. These sessions will often be for smaller groups about a subject that is particularly relevant to the client. Please contact us, without obligation, to discuss the possibilities for your organization.

We also regularly publish newsletters about developments in employment law. Most of them are available on the Dutch website.

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What can an employer do against statements of employees on social media? 11-02-2023

These days, it is common for employees to make negative statements about their employer on social media or to express themselves in a way that is contrary to the nature of the employer’s business or company. Can the employer undertake anything against such negative statements? Yes, they can. Statements on social media are regularly a subject of dispute in court proceedings. Below I will briefly discuss two recent judgments where the employer had requested termination of employment as a result of statements on Facebook.

In its decision of 8 November 2021, the Zeeland-West-Brabant District Court, granted the request of the employer and dissolved the employment contract of a probation officer who, according to the court, had lost sight of the limits of proper communication. This case concerned an employee who became ill shortly after the start of an improvement plan. When the employee fell ill again after a period of reintegration, his attitude and behavior changed. For example, the employee made his dissatisfaction with the employer’s guidance and the improvement process public through statements on Facebook. He posted the following message, among other things: “But what if you, as a probation employee, become ill as a result of overload? Then you will be seen and treated as a criminal by supervisors and even the management. You are not functioning properly..(…)." The employee also posted a Facebook message with the text: "I have not lied a word. Yes, there are executives within the Dutch Probation Service who even commit criminal offenses. (...)." The employee refused to comply with the employer's request to remove the negative messages.

The court ruled that 'freedom of expression does not extend to an employee being allowed to make incorrect statements about his employer, at least to disclose unproven and insufficiently established facts, with the intention to damage the employer's reputation, or at least to accept the consequence that the reputation is damaged.’ If an employee believes that social abuses are taking place within the organisation of the employer, it is in the right place to report to the House for the Whistleblowers, instead of making statements on social media, the court said.

In April 2021, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal considered whether the employment contract with an employee of Greenpeace (a highly skilled migrant of Chinese descent) had been rightly dissolved by the court. The employee had made emotional, violent and aggressive statements on his private Facebook page (with 200 friends) aimed at using and condoning violence against demonstrators in Hong Kong (who were protesting China's policy towards Hong Kong) as well as targeting against eating insects in favor of health and the environment. According to Greenpeace, these statements violate the internal rules of conduct that enshrine the core values ​​of the organization: protecting the environment and the pursuit of peace. Unlike Greenpeace, the employee believes that these core values ​​should not permeate his personal life to the extent that it restricts his right to freedom of expression on social media.

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal considered that Greenpeace is an employer with a strong political, ideological and social vision. This means that the employee must take these core values ​​into account, both within his work and outside of it. The court also took into account that at the time of posting of the messages it was visible that the employee was working for Greenpeace, so that he created the risk that Greenpeace would be associated with his statements. This can damage Greenpeace's reputation and also financial damage, the latter if donors withdraw. The court ruled that the statements of the employee are contrary to good employeeship and that the court had rightly terminated the employment contract.

For employers who want to take action against statements made by employees on social media, it is important to realize that not every unwelcome statement can lead to dismissal. Sometimes 'milder' sanctions will suffice. This is the case, for example, if it does not concern clearly inadmissible statements and it is not visible for which organization the employee works, so that the employer cannot be associated with the statements of the employee. This can also be the case if the employee – addressed by his employer – apologizes and deletes the message. Employers are advised to immediately request employees to remove unwelcome messages on social media. A social media code of conduct can help the employer to demonstrate that certain statements are considered undesirable within the company.

If you have any questions about this subject or if you need help drawing up a code of conduct, you can contact Van Bladel Advocaten via or at (+31) 030-2203111.

Heleen Dammingh


The Dutch Whistleblower Protection Act, that replaces the former Dutch Whistleblowers Authority Act, strengthens the protection of whistleblowers and has important implications for employers. For most parts the law has even direct effect for employers with 249 employees or more. Employers with 50 to 249 employees are subject to a transition period until the17th of December 2023 to comply with the law. Therefore, employers for employers who have not updated their internal reporting procedures yet, must come into action. We have listed the most important changes for you.

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Employers are by now used to the fact that employees on fixed-term contracts must be informed in good time and in writing whether the contract will be extended or not. If an employer fails to do so or does so too late, the employee is entitled to compensation of up to one month's salary. What if the employer did give timely oral notice that the temporary employment contract will not be extended and the employee subsequently has a new job? Is the employee then still entitled to the compensation? 

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22-04-2022Will a confidential adviser on the work floor become mandatory?

In view of the recent news about The Voice and the football director of AJAX, it has become clear that since #MeToo not enough attention has been paid to recognizing and combating sexual harassment and unwanted behaviour at work. Where can employees safely go if they want to report unwanted behaviour?

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07-07-2021Unions and employers agreement on labor market reform

On June 1st, 2021 the social partners have reached an agreement in principle on labor market reform and work regulation. The agreement is part of an advice from the Social and Economic Council (SER). The agreement is an attempt to influence the formation talks about a new Dutch government. In this blog you can read about the main points, including the limitation of flexible work by prohibiting zero-hours contracts, temporary employment contracts of a maximum of three years and the position of self-employed persons.

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