Unclear documents in an unknown language and other violations worth recording

Sometimes employers can't think of any reasons to fire workers and simply slip them papers to sign a voluntary resignation.


4/2/20242 min read

On 19 December, Andrey, a barman at the Georgian House restaurant, was verbally informed that he was being fired. On the same day, he received a termination of contract in his mailbox. To Andrey's surprise, the termination agreement was "mutually agreed", with no severance pay.

Even worse, the contract was in Lithuanian, even though Andrey, a Ukrainian citizen, does not speak Lithuanian. Andrey did not cave in to the pressure, refused to sign the dubious contract and instead made a very good decision by seeking legal advice from G1PS.

On 21 December, Andrey received a termination contract on a different basis - for not meeting the expectations of his probation period. However, no specific reason was given for the dismissal. Adding to the confusion was a question a few days later about whether Andrey would be able to work during New Year's Eve.

After consulting with us, Andrey demanded reasons for the dismissal and an explanation for the inconsistent communication. He was sent 5 arguments for dismissal, including "You showed unethical behaviour by rolling your eyes at the administrators when they asked you to complete tasks and work faster".

At the time, Andrey was suffering from a serious illness and had a sick leave until 9 January. On the first day following his sick leave, Andrey's employment was terminated. He took the unfair dismissal to the Labour Dispute Committee (Darbo ginčų komisija – DGK).

As for ourselves, on 22 January we asked the State Labour Inspectorate (Valstybinė darbo inspekcija – VDI) to investigate the situation in the Georgian House restaurant with regard to the requirements of the Labour Code concerning compulsory health checks and non-compliance with minimum rest periods. Moreover, all employment contracts, work safety rules and internal regulations are received from the employer only in Lithuanian, even though some of the employees do not speak Lithuanian.

VDI inspectors interviewed the workers and found that the restaurant had failed to carry out a timely health check on the worker, and had failed to inform the worker of the working conditions and the rules of labour law in a language he or she understood.

Andrey said that the restaurant workers do not have a lunch break to eat, but that it is still deducted from their working time. However, VDI did not find any violations of working time and rest periods.

Andrey is appealing to the Labour Dispute Committee for wrongful termination of his contract and demands compensation.

More and more foreigners are working in Lithuania and employers should be aware that all documents addressed to the employee must be submitted in Lithuanian, and if the employee does not speak Lithuanian, they must be accompanied by a translation in a language they understand. Otherwise, signatures on a document that is illegible to the person concerned have no legal effect.

This story also shows the importance of evidence. If your employer does not give you lunch breaks, try to get a few colleagues who would agree to testify and write a letter to the inspectorate together. Also try to record the misconduct. For example, you could record a telephone conversation with a manager asking why you are not given lunch breaks.

As a reminder, a lunch break of at least 30 minutes must be taken no later than after five hours of work. During the lunch break, which excluded from paid hours, the employee has the right to leave the workplace.

We urge catering workers—both Andrey's colleagues at Georgian House and elsewhere—not to give in to pressure and not to accept breaches of labour law. You deserve a shorter, safer and well-paid job.