LABOUR – The Italian Supreme Court on outside-work conduct as just cause for dismissal

On 14 December 2023, the Italian Supreme Court issued its judgment No. 35066/2023 regarding the dismissal for just cause of an employee who had engaged in outside-work relationships with two female colleagues. Notably, the employee challenged the ruling of the Court of Appeal of Milan, which had upheld the dismissal for just cause based on outside-work conduct, before the Italian Supreme Court (the contested charges mainly involved the employee engaging in outside-work relationships with two female colleagues, at different times, that were considered as “seriously prejudicial both to the women themselves and to the shared employer”). The Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal, aligning itself with the now-established case law according to which even conduct that does not take place in the workplace, but which may directly or indirectly affect it, can be relevant for disciplinary purposes. In particular, the Court affirmed that “an employee [must] refrain from engaging not only in the expressly prohibited conduct but also in any other conduct which, by its nature and possible consequences, is in conflict with the obligations connected with his or her inclusion in the structure and organisation of the company” since he/she must also observe the “duties of fairness and good faith even in outside-work-related conduct, so as not to damage the employer”.

Newsletter n. 92 – January 2024