Switzerland Explores Extended Dismissal Protection Of Older Workers

Author:Dr. Thomas Rihm
Profession:Rihm Attorneys

Already today the generation of workers older than 50 years is the largest group on the labor market in Switzerland - and it continues to grow. Trade unions, representatives of the generation 50+ and lawyers specializing in labor law therefore demand an increased protection for older workers against age discrimination. According to Daniel Lampart, a trade union leader in Switzerland, longer termination periods applying to long-standing employees should no longer be a taboo.

There would be no absolute protection for all older workers, says the well-regarded employment lawyer Denis G. Humbert, i.e., dismissals due to restructurings or a lack of performance would still be possible. In the past, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled in several cases that a special protection is already in place for long-term employees. According to Mr. Humbert, it is unclear from which age on this protection applies, so Humbert pleads to draw a line at the age 55 years.

So far, both the Swiss Federal Government and Swiss Employers' Associations refuse to implement such additional protection into Swiss labor laws, whilst the Department of Federal Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann confirms to have analyzed in recent months the effects of a better protection against dismissal. Specifically, the collective bargaining agreement of the Basel Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry has been reviewed in more detail which provides since 10 years a mandatory notice period of six...

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