By virtue of the managerial authority, employers have the right to employ and dismiss their staff.
However, the Salaried Employees Act requires that the dismissal of employees with more than one year's service be reasonably justified. The circumstances at the actual date of dismissal are decisive for the assessment of reasonableness.
Dismissal may be justified by the circumstances of the company, e.g. finances or organisational changes, or by the conduct of the employee, e.g. lack of performance or cooperation problems.
Regardless of whether the dismissal is justified by the circumstances of the company or your conduct, the employer must give notice of the termination with the above notice periods (see also the sections on dismissals).
Termination justified by the circumstances of the company
Employers can always dismiss employees with reference to the need for savings, restructuring, etc. If the dismissal is in reality justified by such circumstances, it will be reasonable.
Termination justified by the conduct of the employee
A dismissal justified by your conduct may, for instance, be because you have not performed satisfactorily, you do not keep your agreements, there are cooperation problems or because of sickness.
Dismissal justified by some sort of dissatisfaction with you as an employee will generally require that you have received a warning (see more below) and have thus had an opportunity to improve. However, this does not apply in case of illness.
When there are changes in your employment terms
By virtue of his managerial authority, the employer may make changes in your employment terms without special warning, but only as long as the changes are immaterial.
Changes in terms can be a change of working hours, duties or the place of work. A pay cut will always be material, but otherwise a specific assessment is always required.
If the changes are material, the employer will be entitled to make them, but in this case, the changes must be notified by giving you the same notice as your notice of termination, and consequently the changes do not take effect until at the expiry of the notice period.
A material change is to be considered as dismissal and a simultaneous offer of re-employment on changed terms and conditions. This also means that you can choose to refuse re-employment on the changed terms and instead consider yourself as being dismissed by the employer. In that case you have the same rights as if you had been dismissed, i.e. you are entitled to a notice of termination, any severance pay, etc.
The fact that a material change in terms and conditions is put on a par with dismissal also means that the employer must have reasonable justification for making the changes, and that in the case of unreasonableness, a claim for compensation may be filed according to the collective agreement and the Salaried Employees Act.
Whether changes in the employment terms can be considered material depends on the specific facts and your personal circumstances. It is often a rather difficult assessment, and it is important to stress that what is important to one employee is not necessarily important to his or her colleague. It is in no way black or white, and it is recommended that you contact your shop steward, union branch or Finansforbundet (Financial Services Union Denmark) if you are in doubt as to whether a change may be material.