A Court in Madrid annulled the dismissal of a worker that took place during the period that he was in prison. The judgment considers that there is a ‘more than well-founded’ suspicion that the employer get by without him because ‘they do not want an ex-convict among their staff’. And this violates the fundamental right of social reintegration. As it is explained on the ruling, this attitude ‘constitutes a discriminatory behavior, which is not compatible with the Constitution’, according to the information of the High Court of Justice of Madrid.

The annulment of the dismissal implies the reinstatement of the employee, a warehouse assistant whose name is omitted on the judgment, and the payment of the processing wage (the income that the worker did not receive from his dismissal to the notification of the judge decision). However, the ruling can be appealed before the Supreme Court of Justice of Madrid.

According to the judicial story, the employee went into prison in March 2014, fact that was communicated to the company by the employee lawyer and went out in February 2016. Soon after his imprisonment, the company notified to the same lawyer that they stop the contract. In July 2015 the company decided to go forward and terminated the contract, which was communicated to the worker through a Burofax that was sent to his home.

Invalid Dismissal

Once the worker went out of prison, he sent a letter to the company requesting the return to his job, but the company rejected it. The answer said that the contract had been terminated in July 2015 and the company alleged that the worker had tried to go into the warehouse during some leaves from prison –three Saturdays in October and November.

In this situation, the worker decided to file a claim requesting the annulment of the dismissal. The judge accepted this request because of some reasons. First of all because the social reintegration is a ‘fundamental right of every citizen who was in prison for a criminal judgment’, something that according to ‘the facts heard in the trial and the alleged arguments introduce the well-founded’ suspicion that the company decided to dismiss the worker –warehouse assistant- because they did not want to have an ex-convict among the staff’.

The criminal record cannot be In any case a reason for the social or legal discrimination’ affirms the judge, who insists in the fact that the reason of the dismissal is the rejection of an ex-convict. One of the reasons that made the judge come to this conclusion is that the company does not accuse the worker of any unjustified absence on the dismissal letters – this reason has been accepted in other judgments because the absence was considered ‘as a responsibility of the employee because he was sentenced for a offence that determined his imprisonment’.

In the judgment that closes the dismissal claim, the judge adds that the company informed the worker about his dismissal when he was in prison through a certified letter sent to his home address, so it was impossible for him to receive it and to pick it up at the post office where it was deposited. The worker only knew that he was fired when he served his sentence and went to his workplace in Mejorada (Madrid) In order to continue with his job.

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