Warnings and termination criteria

As an employer, you should also be prepared to face some difficulties. This section discusses matters related to the issuing of warnings and termination.

Personnel 2/2


    In principal, the agreement of an employee cannot be terminated before the employee has received a warning and an opportunity to correct their conduct. A warming may be given orally or in writing. A party who wants to appeal the warning must be able to provide evidence of the giving of the warning, if necessary.

    The employer must treat the employees equally when giving warnings (e.g. if an agreement is terminated after three warnings).

    A warning has no legal significance, but the significance of the warning is weighed when the employment relationship is about to be terminated due to repeated negligence or similar procedure that has continued regardless of the warning.

    Warnings have no standard validity periods in months or years. In practice, the employer is not allowed to invoke old warnings given years ago.

    A warning concerns a specified and identified conduct of the employee. If the employer has given the employee a warning and, after that, the employee is guilty of another type of negligence, the employer is not usually allowed to invoke the warning given on another negligence when making a decision. On the other hand, several warnings given based on different issues may together exceed the threshold for termination decision.


    According to the Employment Contracts Act, the employer may terminate an agreement of indefinite duration only on appropriate and serious grounds.

    Such grounds may be

    • reasons attributable to the person or
    • productive and economical reasons

    It is not allowed to terminate a fixed-term agreement unless the termination has been agreed upon.

    Furthermore, the Employment Contracts Act has special provisions for the following situations:

    • termination in connection with the transfer of business
    • termination in connection with the reorganisation of the business
    • the employer’s bankruptcy and death
    • terminating a pregnant employee or an employee on a family leave
    • termination of a shop steward or representative

    When assessing the termination grounds, all aspects affecting the situation must be considered; matters favourable and unfavourable for the employee. The overall assessment is used to evaluate whether there have been grounds for the termination.

    Essential requirement

    The violation leading to termination must be essential. Therefore, a minor violation does not constitute grounds for the termination. The employer must also treat the employees equally, so that the agreement of one employee is not terminated while others who were guilty of similar unacceptable conduct continue their work.