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26 November 2019
The directors of a credit company placed under extraordinary administration for serious irregularities learned that an employee had covertly given the company's former general manager some confidential company documents, which he had had no reason to access. In particular, the directors discovered that the employee, with the help of another employee and in secret, had given the former general manager an appraisal of the value of a property owned by third parties.
The directors only become aware of this fact indirectly and some months later after the Public Prosecutor's Office had tapped the general manager's phone as part of criminal proceedings.
The employee was subsequently subject to internal disciplinary proceedings and dismissed for a serious breach of the obligation of loyalty to her employer.
The employee challenged the dismissal as illegitimate in a district court and the Court of Appeal. However, the Court of Appeal rejected her claim on the ground that her conduct had constituted a serious breach of the obligation of loyalty and confidentiality generally imposed on all credit institution employees and was therefore of such gravity as to justify her dismissal.
The employee appealed this sentence to the Supreme Court of Cassation.
The employee argued that her dismissal had been unjustified based on the following grounds:
The company instead argued that the employee's dismissal and the Court of Appeal's decision had been justified based on the seriousness of the employee's conduct.
The Supreme Court of Cassation found that the arguments of the company and the Court of Appeal were correct and stressed that:
The Supreme Court of Cassation thus definitively rejected the employee's claims and ordered her to pay the costs of the proceedings.
Italian jurisprudence has on several occasions offered extensive and rigorous interpretations of employees' obligations of loyalty and confidentiality towards their employers. This rigour is even stricter for employees of credit institutions. Judges have often stated that the conduct of such employees must be such as to guarantee the employer full reliability and transparency and must not counter the trust that the public grants to banking institutions based on the fairness and loyalty of employees thereof.
For further information on this topic please contact Sergio Passerini at Ichino Brugnatelli e Associati by telephone (+39 02 48193249) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Ichino Brugnatelli e Associati website can be accessed at www.ichinobrugnatelli.it.
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