Termination on grounds related to the employee’s person

Termination on grounds related to the employee’s person

There are certain circumstances in which an employee can be terminated on grounds related to the employee's person. Grounds for termination related to the employee’s person are always evaluated holistically and on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of such grounds related to the employee’s person include any significant change in the employee’s ability to perform their work and serious neglect of contractual duties such as neglecting work duties, defective work performance, failure to follow instructions or constant tardiness. When assessing the grounds, the number of employees employed by the employer and the circumstances of the employer and employee as a whole shall be considered.

Grounds for termination related to the employee's person include

  • serious breaches of the terms and conditions of the employment contract
  • serious violations of the law
  • serious neglect of other duties that are integral to the employment relationship, and
  • any significant change in the employee’s personal circumstances that makes them unable to perform their work.

Under the Employment Contracts Act, personal circumstances that cannot be used as grounds for termination include

  • an employee’s illness, disability or injury, except where these cause a substantial reduction in the employee’s work ability for a long period of time and the employer cannot reasonably be expected to continue the employment contract
  • an employee’s participation in industrial action pursuant to the Finnish Collective Agreements Act or on their trade union’s orders
  • an employee’s political, religious or other views or participation in social activism or associations
  • an employee’s exercising their legal remedies.

Terminating an employee on the basis of an illness, disability or injury is possible of the reduction in the employee’s work ability is substantial and long-term and the employee’s duties or working conditions cannot be adapted to suit his or her work ability and the employer cannot offer any other work. The estimated length of an employee’s reduced work ability and impact on work performance are determined by health care professionals.

Terminating an employee during pregnancy or family leave

The Finnish Employment Contracts Act lays down special provisions on the termination of pregnant employees and employees on family leave. An employee may not be terminated on the grounds that the employee is pregnant or exercises the right to a family leave.

Any termination of an employee during their pregnancy or family leave is deemed to have been due to these factors unless the employer is able to prove other grounds for the termination.

The employer may terminate the employment of a pregnant employee when the termination is made on grounds unrelated to the pregnancy, such as due to financial or production reasons or grounds related to the employee’s person.

The employer may terminate the employment of an employee on maternity, special maternity, paternity, parental or child-care leave for financial or production reasons only when the employer’s operations cease entirely. The ban on termination does not apply to termination on grounds related to the employee’s person or in the case of termination due to the employer’s bankruptcy or death.