The Taiwan High Court rendered the 107-Lao-Shang-69 Civil Decision of October 2, 2018 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that when notifying employees of their termination, the employer is obligated to specifically communicate the reasons of termination and shall not subsequently change or add termination reasons at will or change or add the reasons in the course of litigation.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Appellee filed a complaint alleging that he was a job site director employed by the Appellant. Later, the Appellant notified the Appellee via Line communication software of his termination without any early warning and without giving any termination reason. Therefore, such termination was invalid for its obvious violation of Articles 11 and 12 of the Labor Standards Act (hereinafter, the “Act”). Later, the Appellee found that the Appellant had surrendered his labor insurance without his permission, had failed to contribute his labor pension based on his actual salary, and had terminated the labor contract at the time of labor dispute mediation in accordance with Article 14, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 5 of the Act. Therefore, the Appellee sought to confirm that the employment relationship between the parties should have continued until April 10, 2017 and requested payment of the outstanding wages, the issuance of a certificate of involuntary termination and a contribution of sufficient pension to his dedicated retirement account. The original trial court ruled in favor of the Appellant. Dissatisfied, the Appellee appealed.
According to this Decision, although Articles 11 and 12 of the Labor Standards Act separately provide for the statutory reasons of termination for employers, still they are obligated to specifically notify their employees of the reasons of their termination, when delivering a termination notice to the employees. In this fashion, the workers can be properly informed of the reasons of termination and of changes to relevant legal relationships in order to protect the work rights of workers, who are disadvantaged economically and in terms of social status in the employment relationship, and prevent employers from wantonly terminating workers. In addition, under the principle of good faith and to prevent employers from wantonly terminating workers, the employers shall not subsequently change or add the termination reasons at will. Likewise, the employers are also not allowed to change or add assertions in the course of litigation beyond the reasons previously set forth in the termination notice or include reasons that take place after the termination as part of the claims in litigation (compare the 101-Tai-Shang-366 Decision and the 95-Tai-Shang-2720 Decision of the Supreme Court). Therefore, when terminating workers, the employer shall notify the workers of the specific termination reasons under the principle of good faith for labor contract and shall not readily change the termination reasons so that the court may consider if the employer’s termination is lawful and well-grounded.
It was further pointed out in this Decision that since the Appellant had failed to specify the “reasons and basis” for the termination, the Appellant obviously failed to perform its legal obligation to communicate the termination reasons and thus could hardly be deemed to have terminated the labor contract between the parties lawfully on November 8, 2016. It was concluded, on such basis, that during the labor dispute mediation between the parties, the Appellant immediately indicated that the employment relationship between the parties was terminated. The Appellee’s requests, namely, payment of the outstanding wages be paid, issuance of a certificate of involuntary termination, and sufficient contribution to the dedicated labor pension accounts were all well-grounded, and the Appellant’s appeal was rejected.