The request to postpone the oral hearing, filed by the employee under disciplinary process, can be refused by the company when the employee does not prove the impossibility to leave home.
Case ref: Cassazione Civile, sez. lav., 17 gennaio 2020, n. 980
The Court of Cassation, with judgement no.980 filed on 17 January 2020, clarified that the medical certificate sent by the employee in the context of a disciplinary process against him, is not in itself enough to obtain a postponement of the disciplinary hearing in which to present his oral defenses.
In the case in question, the employee filed a court claim before the Court of Cassation claiming, amongst other things, the violation of his right to a defense, since the employer had refused the request to postpone (once again) the oral hearing, applying the disciplinary sanction without hearing his defenses.
The Court of Cassation rejected his claim stating that “the employee’s illness, medically certified, does not itself justify the impossibility to attend the oral hearing. Instead, the employee must prove that the illness prevents him from leaving home (or hospital), so that the postponement of his oral hearing represents a real defensive need, not otherwise achievable”.
The Judges in this case found that the employee had not in fact proven that the illness prevented him from leaving home (or hospital), thus justifying the employer’s refusal to postpone the hearing.
Furthermore, the Court held that the company had acted in compliance with the employee’s right to a defense, since the company “scheduled the oral hearing as requested by the employee, postponed it the first time upon employee’s request based on his illness, alerted the employee that the disciplinary process had to be terminated at the postponed date, in compliance with the NCBA provisions, inviting him to notify in writing any additional justifications, that he did not sent”.
In light of the above, the Supreme Court stated that “the company’s correctness and good faith could not be denied”.