Protection against unlawful dismissal
This protection applies in cases of termination by the employer. The protection against dismissal is regulated by the Articles 344 to 346 and 225 (regarding compensation) of the Labour Code. The termination is unlawful in the following cases:
- If the contract has been terminated because of reason that lies outside the scope of the legally provided termination reasons;
- In cases of procedural violations;
- In cases of non-observance of the preliminary protection against dismissal;
- If the termination has not been declared by an unauthorized person;
The protection against wrongful dismissals offers the employee the following possibilities of resistance:
- To seek a court ruling for recognition of the dismissal as unlawful and its repeal – according to Article 344 (1) of the Labour Code, the employee may demand before court to recognize the dismissal as void and to suspend it (N°1) as well as to order the reemployment (N° 2). If the employee is not admitted to reemployment, the employer is financially (Article 225 (3) of the Labour Code), and possibly criminally liable (Article 172 (2) of the penal code);
The period between the moment that the termination entered into force and the juridical suspension is added to the seniority. The suspension of the termination is registered into the employment record book.
- Compensation payment (Article 334 (1) N° 3 in combination with Article 225 (1,2) of the Labour Code) – within an independent claim, the employee may as well request from the court to oblige the employer for a compensation payment under the condition that the dismissal has been declared void by the court. The amount of the payment accords to the gross remuneration of the month preceding the dismissal (Article 228 (1) of the Labour Code). The compensation payment is owed for a period of 6 months;
- The employee can seek a revision of the grounds for the dismissal before court. (Articles 344 (1) N° 4, 346 of the Labour Code).
Time periods and responsibilities of the court
According to Article 358 (1) N° 2 of the Labour Code, the time period to bring a legal action before court is 2 months. The claim for a compensation payment may be filed within a time period of 3 years (Article 358 (1) N° 3).
In Bulgaria, civil courts have jurisdiction for the claims named above. According to Article 359 of the Labour Code proceedings in labour cases shall be free of charge for employees.