An employer may not dismiss an employee without a legally valid cause.
Dismissal may be based on personal grounds (e.g. disciplinary dismissal, dismissal due to professional inadequacy, dismissal due to incapacity) or economic grounds (e.g. economic difficulties, technological changes), or subject to specific conditions, without stating a specific motive.
Generally, it is difficult to terminate an employee without the employee’s consent under Ukrainian law. Valid grounds for termination may be divided into those related to the employee’s breaches of employment duties (“termination with cause on the part of the employee”) and those not related to the employee’s actions (“termination without cause”). Termination is not generally allowed while an employee is on annual or sick leave.
An employer may unilaterally terminate an employee with cause in the following cases:
- systematic unjustified failure to fulfil employment obligations;
- unjustified absence from work for more than three hours during one day;
- appearance at work while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- misappropriation of property;
- a single gross violation of employment obligations;
- actions of a company head causing delayed or reduced payment of wages;
- immediate subordination to a related party contrary to the Ukrainian law “On Preventing Corruption”;
- actions of an employee entrusted with company assets (cash or property) that result in the loss of the employer’s trust; or
- immoral conduct.
Termination in most of these cases is regarded as a disciplinary sanction and must be imposed following special procedures prescribed by law. An employer may terminate an employee without cause in the following cases:
- changes in organisation of work and production (redundancy);
- employee unsuitability for the job or position due to lack of qualification or poor health conditions;
- reinstatement of an employee who previously occupied the position;
- absence from work due to sickness for more than four continuous months;
- recruitment by the army or mobilization of an employer-natural person during a special period; or
- the employee’s unsuitability for the job or position is discovered within his / her probation period.
Except when an employee is absent for four months due to sickness, termination without cause is only allowed if the employee cannot be transferred to another position or job.