A 14-year-old just took his ex-employer to court… and won

But who’s in the wrong? 🤔

A fourteen-year-old Dutch boy was fired after failing to show up for his part-time job in a Tilburg butcher’s shop. He took his employer to court, where the outcome was… meaty. 🍖

Though the boy only earned €5.50 an hour for his weekly shifts in the butcher’s, the employer must now pay €428 worth of ontslagvergoeding (dismissal compensation) and almost €900 in legal costs. 

Ontslagvergoeding refers to compensation paid to employees who have lost their jobs, aiming to facilitate the transition to a new job. In most cases, this is paid when the employer suddenly (or unfairly) terminates the employment.

Lazy worker or harsh employer?

As RTLNieuws writes, the problem began when the boy’s father sent a text message excusing his son from his usual Saturday shift just four days earlier. 

The message is familiar — an apology for the late notice, a vague reference to other commitments, and a promise to do better in the future.

But the butcher was not impressed; it was due to be a busy shift and he needed all the help he could get.

He expressed this to the boy’s father, but when Saturday rolled around, the 14-year-old’s apron was left hanging unworn. 

Following the no-show, the employer terminated his contract with immediate effect.

READ MORE | Losing your job in the Netherlands: what you should know

Taking his cut

Young workers in the Netherlands might not be paid the big bucks, but the compensation claims in this case would certainly be some bonus for the teenager. 💸

@dutchreview And we respect it 👏 #albertheijn #dutch #dutchculure #nederland #netherlands #workinginthenetherlands #expats #expatlife #expatsamsterdam #learningdutch #dutchreview #foryou ♬ original sound – DutchReview

In court, the boy’s father demanded almost €1,400 in compensation for his son’s dismissal — none of which the ex-employer believed he should have to pay.

But the ruling by the Zeeland-West-Brabant District Court last Friday favoured the boy. 

READ MORE | What are your rights as an international working in the Netherlands? We asked the experts

While the full severance claim was deemed excessive, the butcher had to cover salary and holiday pay for what should have been the boy’s eight-week notice period.

In the end, the former boss did not lose sleep over the issue and maintained that his ex-employee was “a very nice boy”, despite the elaborate courtroom drama.

Do you think a very young workforce can cause more harm than good? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Lottie Gale 🇬🇧
Lottie Gale 🇬🇧
Lottie joins DutchReview as an editorial intern after gaining a Bachelor’s in English from her native England. She continues to pursue all things literature in her MA Literature Today at Utrecht University. She is loving life here, and the ever-looming rainclouds often make it feel like a home from home. Lottie arrived to complete her studies and hone her writing skills — she’ll stay for the Dutch tranquility, tulips and tompouce.


  1. Thanks, judge. You opened the door for scammers with young kids everywhere. What kind of family sends a 14-year old to work?


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