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Justified refusal to perform higher – level tasks: the dismissal is unlawful

The dismissal of an employee who refuses to perform may be considered as unlawful if such refusal is connected to the tasks of a higher level which is not recognized by the employer without reason, and such new tasks have been constantly performed for more than three years; in such case the employee’s behaviour shall not be evaluated as breach of contract The issue concerns a peculiar case: the employer decided to terminate the employment relationship due to the fact that the employee had refused to perform tasks of a higher level than the ones he had been formally assigned at the starting date of his employment contract, as such higher level had not been recognized by the company, even though the above tasks had been performed for three years.

The Supreme Court confirmed the Labor Court’s decisions that had judged the employee’s refusal as legitimate, by considering it as a withholding of performance pursuant to article 1460 of the Italian Civil Code; consequently the above dismissal based on an alleged noncompliance by the employee, was declared unlawful.

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