Due to their role as alter ego of the employer, in Italy, executives are subject to different and less protective statutory rules compared to regular employees. This difference is quite evident in the legislation about dismissals.
In fact, while Italian statutory law generally provides that in order to dismiss an employee the employers must prove that they have fair reason to dismiss them, – when it comes to executives the employer is not obliged to provide proof of just cause. This means that, as a rule, executives can be dismissed freely (otherwise referred to as an ad nutum dismissal).
Moreover, if the dismissal is based on a very serious reason which is able to break the “bond of trust” between the employer and the executive (in Italian this concept is referred to as ‘giusta causa’ or ‘just cause’) then the employer is exempt from giving the executive a period of notice and is also exempt with paying the executive a sum in lieu of notice.