Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

Dutch Labor Law and Holacracy

A request for advice on the topic of Dutch Labor Law.

context: Someone fills 0 roles in the organization after multiple lead links (indepently) have taken this parter out of his/her roles in circles. The organization has recently adopted holacracy so there are no explicit policies that clarify what happens in this situation (or in more general when there is a mismatch between someone's available time and what the organization needs from that). Technically constitution article 5.4 is then still valid. You can fall back to policies existing before adopting Holacracy. which in this case is the Dutch labor law.

Question: does anyone already have experience on the legal context in the Netherlands in case someone fills 0 roles in the organization and a constructive dialogue didnt result in a good departure from the company? How does the law court deal with this?

If you have gone through this process already let me know. i would like to learn from your experience and link you to one of our clients. (respond here or send me a DM through koen@organizationbuilders.com)

3 Replies

I don't see the link in how someone decides to run an organization and the labor law. You have an impact on each other. No roles, no functional work but still outside of Holacracy they need hire/fire policies and salary rules. If they don't have these defined he just has to come to work each day and sit at his desk doing nothing I assume (to avoid getting fired for not showing up and getting warnings).

Juliane Martina Röll

I have no practical experience of the situation, but I am a bit puzzled by your question. The legacy systems apply, so the question is: how has the organisation done firing/departure from the company in the past? (And then, secondary: why has it not built up systems to do that in its current Holacracy structure?)

Do get in touch if you (or your client) would like some more in-depth exchange about your situation! I'll be happy to put my brain to it together with you.



I believe your client is 'in trouble', in case it did not yet design specific policies (& processes) around dismissal/firing. The Dutch labor law is quite clear about reasons for firing personnel:

1. Immediate dismissal due to misbehavior of personnel member (like stealing, sexual misconduct, etc)

2. Dismissal based on mutual agreement

3. Dismissal based on business-economic reasons (structural loss of work and/or revenue, and/or a re-organisation)

4. Dismissal based on a disturbed relation between org and personnel member

5. Dismissal based on disfunctioning of personnel member

And a few other minor ones. Based on the above, it is clear that your case relates most to no.5. The prerequisite for firing someone based on disfunctioning, is that you issue clear written warnings and can prove that you coached (and trained) someone in order to try to get him/her to perform better. If this 'dossier' is taken care of (is there a role with this specific accountability?), you can 'pull the trigger' and fire someone. If not, your only option is to fall back on no.4, the disfunctional relationship. However, this has similar pre-requisites in place.  Your last option left is to try and make a deal with the person involved and dismiss on mutual agreement. If that doesn't work, the law court will most likely rule in favor of the employee and regard the dismissal as unlawful (or potentially make it a very expensive dismissal in favor of the employee, but this I am not so sure about).  You are then back to square 1.

So I guess better is to try and find a place where he/she can still be of value.. But that's besides your point I guess.