Remote employee fired for shutting off webcam

The telemarketer took his employer to court in the Netherlands, which ruled that the firing had been unlawful and the plaintiff was entitled to a hefty sum as a penalty. 

 A man working from home works on his laptop from bed. (photo credit: MICRO BIZ MAG/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
A man working from home works on his laptop from bed.
(photo credit: MICRO BIZ MAG/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

A Dutch employee working remotely for US software company Chetu was fired for "refusal to work" in August 2022. Two months later in October, a Dutch court ruled that the company owes the former employee over 70,000 euros in compensation. 

Dutch newspaper The NL Times reported that the employee began working for the Rijswijk branch of the Florida-based company in 2019.  On August 23, 2022 the employee was informed of a mandatory training period called a "Corrective Action Program." It was during this program that he was told he would have to remain logged in for the entire workday with screen-sharing turned on as well as his webcam.

Business Insider reported that another Chetu employee claimed that keeping webcams on was "no different" from being in a physical office all day, according to later court filings.  

The individual, who worked in telemarketing but was not mentioned by name in the suit filing, responded two days later expressing his discomfort. He felt that being monitored on webcam for nine hours a day was excessive, and an invasion of privacy, especially considering he was already sharing his screen all day.  

He was fired on August 26 for "refusal to work" and "insubordination."

  Coffee table as a desk - working from home with a coffee and a laptop. (credit: MICROBIZ MAG/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS) Coffee table as a desk - working from home with a coffee and a laptop. (credit: MICROBIZ MAG/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Dutch court proceedings

The telemarketer took Chetu to court in the Netherlands, which ruled that the firing had been unlawful and the plaintiff was entitled to a hefty sum as a penalty. 

"The employer has not made it clear enough about the reasons for the dismissal," the court said, according to Business Insider. "Moreover, there has been no evidence of a refusal to work, nor has there been any reasonable instruction."

The court's final ruling stated that Chetu had to pay the plaintiff 50,000 euros in fair compensation, 2,700 euros in unpaid salary, 8,373 for wrongful termination and 9,500 euros for transition assistance.  

The pictures from this article come from https://www.microbizmag.co.uk/.