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Old 21.01.2021, 16:35
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Fired or dissolution?

I was informed today that my employer wants to terminate my employment contract at its legal notice period

I have a written warning on record which in reflection I shouldn’t have accepted as it was minor but I was going through a hard time but they are saying that I can return to work to work off my notice but now the contract is terminated they can legally fire me immediately if any mistakes were made. O

The alternative they have offered is a mutual dissolution of the contract with one months pay and the promise of a positive reference pointing out the problems I was going through at the time. They also said that if I am fired during my notice period the reference would be limited to my disciplinary record and no attempts will be made to mitigate my poor performance these last few months.

I will put my hands up and admit my performance over the autumn was poor as I was struggling with depression and numerous personal problems. I am also aware that I should have told my line manger sooner of the problems I was facing.

I am concerned with the first option I am being set up to fail as no support network or action plan was offered and I am not sure about the legality of the second option but I was advised by the manager that depending on how they explain the dissolution to RAV it would not have any impact on my ability to claim unemployment benefits

It is clear they want me to take the second option. Any advice would be appreciated as we don’t have to make an immediate decision yet
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Old 21.01.2021, 17:04
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

Without knowing all the circumstances, I can say this:
  1. Any employer is allowed, in Switzerland, to terminate any employee, at any time, as long as they give due notice (and pay the salary during that time), according to the the employment contract.

  2. In general it is rarely to the employee's benefit to take any "mutual dissolution" agreement. They are a good idea when the employee wants to leave early, so as to be free to start the next job they already have lined up, which is not your circumstance.

  3. Employment references are not allowed to state negative things, directly. They do, between the lines, simply by saying nothing particularly positive. But they cannot state that you worked badly.

  4. Are you ill, now? Are you depressed? In that case, go and see a doctor to get help. And do this, while you are still employed, because, as long as you are still employed, you are entitled to paid sick-leave (only if, of course, the doctor thinks you need it).

Last edited by doropfiz; 16.06.2021 at 21:42.
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Old 21.01.2021, 17:12
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

Call their bluff and tell them you spoke to a lawyer last night and that (i) you won't be accepting any "mutual-termination" as that would lead to RAV penalties, and (ii) it is illegal to give a negative reference letter here (and that your lawyer advised you to sue but that you don't plan to as you enjoyed your time at the company). Once these bunzlis know that you understand how the law works they will back down pretty quickly as people here generally don't like confrontation. Also, keep it factual and don't allow emotions to get in the way.

Remember rule number 1 here, the company is ALWAYS looking out for itself and not you.
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Old 21.01.2021, 17:16
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

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Without knowing all the circumstances, I can say this:
  1. Any employer is allowed, in Switzerland, to terminate any employee, at any time, as long as they give due notice (and pay the salary during that time), accorting to the the employment contract.

  2. In general it is rarely to the employee's benefit to take any "mutual dissolution" agreement. They are a good idea when the employee wants to leave early, so as to be free to start the next job they already have lined up, which is not your circumstance.

  3. Employment references are not allowed to state negative things, directly. They do, between the lines, simply by saying nothing particularly positive. But they cannot state that you worked badly.

  4. Are you ill, now? Are you depressed? In that case, go and see a doctor to get help. And do this, while you are still employed, because, as long as you are still employed, you are entitled to paid sick-leave (only if, of course, the doctor thinks you need it).
This.

Also, being officially on sick leave will stop the clock on your notice period which means that you gain a full month of pay as most terminations can only be effective to the end of a month.
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Old 21.01.2021, 17:24
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

Almost sounds a bit blackmail-y.

I'm not sure how one accepts or not-accepts a warning, or how that impacts on your statutory notice period.


I think for the first option you're saying they can give and pay you for your statutory notice period (I'm guessing more than one month) but if you do something wrong during that time they'll fire you immediately. I'm not sure if "doing something wrong" would be the same as gross negligence. I'd have thought they'd send you home if they don't want you there but they'd still have to pay the notice period. This (statutory notice) is the default option should you choose none of the options. It's seems to be not allowed to give a negative reference, even if someone has misbehaved but quite who decides what is negative and what isn't I don't know. I have a friend who's lawyer has requested many changes to his reference.


The mutual agreement option potentially/probably puts you at risk of a delay in benefits via the RAV but let's you out of a bad situation if you couldn't stand to be there for the full notice period.

That they offer you a better reference for leaving early sounds like a bribe. Alternatively, offering you a worse reference for not leaving early sounds like blackmail.



If it were me, I'd not agree to anything and allow myself to be terminated with statutory notice. If things don't go to plan tell them that you'll go to a lawyer and take what they've offered you with you as it sounds quite dodgy to me.


If you're really having problems that affect your work then talk to a doctor. They might sign you off work for a while. This won't be very attractive to your employer as it'll likely extend the notice period. You could use this as 'counter-blackmail' but probably also not fully legal. It could however help with the RAV but they'll only pay if you're fit for work.
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Old 21.01.2021, 17:37
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

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Without knowing all the circumstances, I can say this:
  1. Any employer is allowed, in Switzerland, to terminate any employee, at any time, as long as they give due notice (and pay the salary during that time), accorting to the the employment contract.

  2. In general it is rarely to the employee's benefit to take any "mutual dissolution" agreement. They are a good idea when the employee wants to leave early, so as to be free to start the next job they already have lined up, which is not your circumstance.

  3. Employment references are not allowed to state negative things, directly. They do, between the lines, simply by saying nothing particularly positive. But they cannot state that you worked badly.

  4. Are you ill, now? Are you depressed? In that case, go and see a doctor to get help. And do this, while you are still employed, because, as long as you are still employed, you are entitled to paid sick-leave (only if, of course, the doctor thinks you need it).
To build on this very good advise, Talk to a doctor/psychiatrist re. Mental health and talk to a Lawyer re. your options. Employment Law in CH is very favourable to employers but always good to understand your options. Also note that testimonials have a secret language i.e. you cant give negative feedback but depending on how positive it is, is seen as indicative of positive/negative. If matter of fact, not so great. If with some positive language, better.
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Old 21.01.2021, 17:47
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

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I was informed today that my employer wants to terminate my employment contract at its legal notice period

I have a written warning on record which in reflection I shouldn’t have accepted as it was minor but I was going through a hard time but they are saying that I can return to work to work off my notice but now the contract is terminated they can legally fire me immediately if any mistakes were made. O

The alternative they have offered is a mutual dissolution of the contract with one months pay and the promise of a positive reference pointing out the problems I was going through at the time. They also said that if I am fired during my notice period the reference would be limited to my disciplinary record and no attempts will be made to mitigate my poor performance these last few months.

I will put my hands up and admit my performance over the autumn was poor as I was struggling with depression and numerous personal problems. I am also aware that I should have told my line manger sooner of the problems I was facing.

I am concerned with the first option I am being set up to fail as no support network or action plan was offered and I am not sure about the legality of the second option but I was advised by the manager that depending on how they explain the dissolution to RAV it would not have any impact on my ability to claim unemployment benefits

It is clear they want me to take the second option. Any advice would be appreciated as we don’t have to make an immediate decision yet
You want to be fired. Specially if you want to go to RAV. Anyway losing a job is not like it used to be.

<<the promise of a positive reference pointing out the problems I was going through at the time>> YOU.DO.NOT.WANT.THAT!!! No, no! What ever the problems were, they are private. You want them rewarmed everytime someone looks at that reference?! Not to mention THAT could be a banana skin getting a job ...... even in 20 years.

As someone said: Negative references are illegal here. So they either write a decent one or simply give you a confirmation that you worked for them with details about from when to when and as what. That is the only two choices they have.

Companies always try to make employees to resign instead of getting fired.
They want you out? Well, let them fire you!
If you don't like it and you think they got good reasons - well, do it differently next time but don't fall for their nonsense now.

All the best.
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Old 21.01.2021, 17:56
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

Let them fire you.
And then be aware that a one-day sick note can extend the period they must pay you into the next month, to the end of the month. That is not applicable if they do not terminate your contract.
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Old 21.01.2021, 18:25
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

If there a reason that you don't want to be paid for Feb., March and April? If so, definately accept their offer.

Please ask your employee to give you the options in writing and then tell them that it is a big decision that you are emotionally not able to take it right now.

Then, go to an employement lawyer (I'll PM you a couple of options) and have them look this over and follow their recomendations.

Swiss law allows employers to get rid of you, but the employers have to follow the law and certain procedures. I know a lot of examples of employers who don't follow the procedures who then have to pay their employees.

Example, someone I know was recently let go. Their employer made a couple of mistakes and now this equainance will recieve a check for many months of salary.
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Old 21.01.2021, 18:56
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

RAV/ ALV/ Kasse are to review whether a termination by mutual agreement is caused by the employer or the employee but they generally are to accept that it was initiated by the employer. Below is a translation of 1.D at the below link (German):

"Termination of the employment relationship by the insured person or by mutual agreement without assurance of a new job (AVIG practice ALE D24)

If the employer gives the employee the choice of terminating the employment relationship himself or accepting the notice of termination, termination by the employer is to be assumed. However, it must be examined whether the employee has given the employer cause for termination (AVIG practice ALE D25)."

https://www.koordination.ch/fileadmi...-d/ale_d59.pdf

At the time a job-seeker applies for unemployment compensation, the job-seeker completes an application form and the employer submits an employer's certificate to RAV/ Kasse. Regarding who initiated the termination, see questions 18 and 20 on the Application for Unemployment Compensation, post 4 at this link. Also sees similar questions 10 and 13 on the Employer's Certificate, post 7:

https://www.englishforum.ch/employme...ranslated.html
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Old 21.01.2021, 20:05
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

Dissolution is definitely not going to be in your favor - and it is simply not true as it is not "mutual" so you can argue this way.

It might also be the case that you will be put on a garden leave during the notice period so you will be paid and not have to work if your work involves some trade secrets and the employer doesn't want you to leave with up-to-date information. Hence, they wouldn't want to pay you for not working and this might be the reason they prefer the second option.

Additionally, as mentioned before, you might also need some rest to recover before searching for a new job and this sick leave is going to extend your period as follows:

1-30 days sick leave = notice period + 1 month
31 - 60 days sick leave = notice period + 2 months
... etc.

So basically 1 day beyond 30 days of sickness gives you an additional month pause in the notice period.

This protection only enters into force following expiry of the probation period and amounts to 30 days in the first year, 90 days from the 2nd to 5th year, and 180 days from the 6th year.

More info here: https://www.axa.ch/en/privatkunden/b...d-illness.html
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Old 22.01.2021, 09:41
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

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Call their bluff and tell them you spoke to a lawyer last night and that (i) you won't be accepting any "mutual-termination" as that would lead to RAV penalties, and (ii) it is illegal to give a negative reference letter here (and that your lawyer advised you to sue but that you don't plan to as you enjoyed your time at the company). Once these bunzlis know that you understand how the law works they will back down pretty quickly as people here generally don't like confrontation. Also, keep it factual and don't allow emotions to get in the way.

Remember rule number 1 here, the company is ALWAYS looking out for itself and not you.
If you tell the employer that you spoke to a lawyer about this situation, please only do it after you have actually spoken to a lawyer familiar with Swiss employment law about your specific case.

If you research the law yourself, and can quote the actual points of law involved (or some helpful soul here on the EF has given you a link to the specific law(s) you need) then just quote them.

While there are many people on the EF with relevant qualifications and experience, make sure that you can fully support what you say with facts and the relevant laws for your situation, rather than "oh, this guy on the internet said ... ".

You can also contact the RAV directly and ask them if they are able to advise you in this situation. They are the experts in what happens in terms of unemployment insurance, after all ...
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Old 22.01.2021, 11:13
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

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This.

Also, being officially on sick leave will stop the clock on your notice period which means that you gain a full month of pay as most terminations can only be effective to the end of a month.
I agree. Your salary will be higher than your RAV payments so why not let your employer pay you for a few months more at that higher rate? It also means you won't have to go into work. The downside is that if your employers are unhappy with you doing this, they may not give you a positive reference. It's true what people say, that they can't overtly say bad things about you, but Swiss HR departments famously have a sort of coded way of hinting at poor performance. A person they genuinely think highly of will get enthusiastic endorsements, so a simple lack of such praise can be interpreted as a signal to prospective employers. But the extra money may be worth that risk.
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Old 22.01.2021, 11:42
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

OP, you already know that, in any case, the reference is not going to be glowing. So whether it is neutral, or coded to suggest poor performance, or not... is really of much less importance than that you sort out your health and that you don't inadvertently jeopardise your unemployment moneys.

If those negative issues, or criticisms, that your current employer has about your perfomance, are to do with your mental or physical health, then I urge you to get yourself to a doctor now, while you are still employed. If you are ill, your continued salary payments are still insured for as long as you are ill, by your employer's mandatory insurance cover.

Don't be manipulated by the threat of a bad reference or the promise of a less-than-bad one. A reference is not something you should be trying to "buy" by agreeing to forego your salary for the months of your notice period, and to forego your sick-play if (and only if it's true!) you are not able to work, for a while. You shouldn't be sacrificing those rights.

Being dismissed is much less of a shame than it used to be. For a new, potential employer, you will need to be sure you know what those negative issues are/were, and to either not mention them at all, or to be able to name them and set out how you are busy dealing with them now, or that you've already dealt with them fully. That will be stronger than a reference.
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Old 22.01.2021, 11:45
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

Besides your actual line manager, is there anyone else in the company (or who has perhaps already left) who does not share the manager's view, and who actually thinks working with you was fine?

If so, you could ask that person to write you a separate reference. Even if they are not authorised by the company so do to, they might agree to do so in their personal capacity.

If you can get this, you will no longer be dependent only upon the official reference.
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Old 22.01.2021, 12:33
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

Give this place a call: https://www.dfa.ch/
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Old 22.01.2021, 13:00
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

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Give this place a call: https://www.dfa.ch/
Yes. And although this is a church-funded social service, it is open to everyone, irrespective of one's social or spiritual position or religious affiliations, or lack thereof.
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Old 22.01.2021, 13:53
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Re: Fired or dissolution?

OP doesn't say how long they were at the company, which is a key point.

If it was a year of which six months was poor performance, then a poor reference is to be expected. In that case just ask them to put no descriptive content in the reference, just a few bullet points about the tasks, dates etc.

If it was ten years, the last six months shouldn't override all previous good performance.
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