The ban on individual dismissal provided for by the emergency regulations is also applicable to executives

Prepared by Francesca Tironi and Valentina Panettella

The Court of Rome, acting as employment judge, by decision of 26 February ordered the reinstatement of an executive dismissed last July 2020 for removal of the position, deeming such dismissal null and void for violation of the prohibition imposed by the emergency legislation (Article 46 of Law Decree no. 18/ 2020, converted into Law no. 27/2020; Article 80 of Law Decree no. 34/2020, converted into Law no. 77/2020).

The judgment has reopened the debate on the admissibility of extending the ban on dismissals to the executive category.

While on the one hand there are those who argue that such a ruling is in line with the underlying rationale of the ban, i.e. to prevent the negative economic consequences produced by the pandemic from impacting on workers, on the other hand there are those who believe, on the basis of a systematic interpretation of Article 46, that the ban on dismissal should be limited to the hypothesis of Article 3 of Law No. 604/1966 (not applicable ex lege to managers).

In the present case, the court held that it was unreasonable, given the same economic justification for the termination, not to extend to executives, to whom the protection in the event of collective dismissal is applicable expressis verbis, the rules of the Covid block in the event of individual dismissal and justified the reference made by the emergency provision to Article 3 of Law No. 604/1966, as intended to identify the hostile nature of the reason underlying the termination, not to delimit the subjective scope of application.

The decision, questioning the orientation that until today has excluded managers from the category of workers protected by the ban on individual dismissals, adopts an interpretation that broadens the range of beneficiaries of the ban.

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