European Employment Law Cases

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Issue 3, 2016 Expand all abstracts

2016/35 What does Brexit mean for UK employment law? (UK)

Keywords Brexit, employment law
Authors James Davies
Author's information

James Davies
James Davies is Joint Head of Employment team at Lewis Silkin LLP in London,

    The Danish Supreme Court has ruled that a provision in a collective agreement allowing employers to pay reduced allowances for working in the evenings, on nights and at weekends to employees under the age of 25 in full-time education and working no more than 15 hours a week was not in conflict with the Danish Anti-Discrimination Act since it was justified by a legitimate aim.

Mariann Norrbom
Mariann Norrbom is a partner of Norrbom Vinding, Copenhagen,
Case Reports

2016/37 More days of leave for employees over 50 is unjustified unequal treatment (GE)

Keywords Age discrimination
Authors Paul Schreiner and Jana Hunkemöller
AbstractAuthor's information

    If a collective agreement grants older employees a higher vacation claim solely because of their age, a younger employee is entitled to the same number of days of leave.

Paul Schreiner
Paul Schreiner and Jana Hunkemöller are, respectively, a partner in Essen and an associate in Düsseldorf with Luther Rechtsanwaltgesellschaft mbH,

Jana Hunkemöller

    The UK Supreme Court has held that the mistreatment of two Nigerian employees based on their vulnerable immigration status, did not amount to direct or indirect discrimination. The question for the Court was whether the employees had been discriminated against on the basis of their nationality. The Court accepted that immigration status is a function of nationality, but that it is not the same thing.

Hayley Band
Hayley Band is a Paralegal at Lewis Silkin LLP,

    A staffing agency rejected an application for an advertised job because the applicant refused to remove her hijab. The court of first instance saw no discrimination, the Court of Appeal did. The plaintiff was awarded €500 but had to bear her own legal expenses.

Caterina Rucci
Caterina Rucci is a partner at Bird & Bird in Milan,

    The Supreme Court of Lithuania recently affirmed that the courts have no competence to assess the merits of an employer’s decision to restructure and make staff redundant, as the decision was at the employer’s discretion to make.

Inga Klimašauskienė
Inga Klimašauskienė is an Associate Partner at GLIMSTEDT Law Firm in Vilnius,

    A company had leased some employees from a temporary work agency between 2008 and 2012 to work alongside its own employees on a continuous basis. The collective bargaining agreement that the company was bound by restricted the use of temporary agency workers to situations in which the work could not be performed by the company’s own staff. The trade union brought an action before the Labour Court claiming that the company had used temporary agency workers continuously to a greater extent than permitted by the collective bargaining agreement and that the employers’ association, of which the company was a member, had breached its supervisory duty. In a preliminary ruling, the ECJ held that the Temporary Agency Work Directive (2008/104/EC) does not oblige national courts to refuse to apply national law containing prohibitions or restrictions, even if those restrictions were not justified. Having confirmed that national restrictions may be applied, the Labour Court imposed a compensatory fine of € 3,000 on the company and € 4,000 on the employers’ association.

Kaj Swanljung

Janne Nurminen
Kaj Swanljung and Janne Nurminen are, respectively, Senior Counsel and Senior Associate, with Roschier in Helsinki,
Case Reports

2016/42 Court finds fixed-term employee eligible for contract of indefinite duration (CY)

Keywords Dismissal, conversion fixed term contracts
Authors Michalis Hadjigiovanni
AbstractAuthor's information

    Where an employee’s working time exceeds the 30 months prescribed by law, a fixed term contract will be converted into an indefinite term contract.

Michalis Hadjigiovanni
Michalis Hadjigiovanni is a lawyer with George Z. Georgiou & Associates LLC in Nicosia,
Case Reports

2016/43 Inappropriate use of Facebook by employee leads to unfair dismissal (IR)

Keywords Dismissal, unfair dismissal
Authors Orla O’Leary
AbstractAuthor's information

    A recent decision by the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) found that the dismissal of an employee for putting “derogatory” comments on Facebook about a colleague was unfair.

Orla O’Leary
Orla O’Leary is a Senior Associate at Mason Hayes & Curran in Dublin,
Case Reports

2016/44 Is there a genuine remedy for the employer’s failure to consult? (HU)

Keywords Employee representatives/collective bargaining, obligation to consult
Authors Gabriella Ormai and Peter Ban
AbstractAuthor's information

    During negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement, the employer stopped consulting the employee representatives because a sectorial collective bargaining agreement had entered into force that also applied to the employer. After this, the trade union requested an appointment with the employer on a specific date and proposed an agenda for the meeting, including consultation on the impact of the sectorial collective bargaining agreement on the employees. The employer refused to meet on the requested date. The trade union challenged this via the Labour Court. The first and second instance courts turned down the trade union’s claim and confirmed the employer had acted lawfully. The Curia (the Supreme Court) established that the employer had breached its obligation to consult – an obligation deriving from the Labour Code which implemented Directive 2002/14 establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees – but at the same time it refused to order the employer to proceed with the consultations, leaving the trade union without an effective remedy.

Gabriella Ormai

Peter Ban
Gabriella Ormai is the managing partner of the Budapest office, Peter Ban is a senior counsel of CMS Cameron McKenna LLP,
Case Reports

2016/45 Supreme Court rules on social security legislation applicable to temps posted abroad (PL)

Keywords Free movement, social security and temporary agency workers
Authors Marcin Wujczyk PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    Temporary agency workers employed by a Polish agency and posted temporarily to France to work there under the direction of a French client are entitled to A1 certificates and, therefore, to remain governed by exclusively Polish social security legislation while working in France.

Marcin Wujczyk PhD
Marcin Wujczyk, PhD., is a partner with Ksiazek Bigaj Wujczyk in Krakow,

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’) has upheld an Employment Tribunal’s (‘ET’s’) finding that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’) was not engaged when an employer used private material obtained by the police during a criminal investigation as part of an internal disciplinary investigation into one of its employees. This material had been taken from the claimant’s phone by the police, who then provided it to the employer (stating that it could be used for the purposes of their investigation). The facts in this case were unusual. Whether or not an employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy in similar circumstances will depend on all the facts, including the source of the information, whether the employee has expressly objected to its use, and whether the relevant conduct took place in, or was brought into, the workplace.

Anna Bond
Anna Bond is an associate at Lewis Silkin LLP:

    A company’s unofficial practice of providing an extra amount on top of the statutory severance payable upon retirement is considered an acquired right which binds the new employer in the case of a transfer of the undertaking. This applies whether or not the transferee was aware of it.

Effie Mitsopoulou
Effie Mitsopoulou is a partner with Kyriakides Georgopoulos in Athens,
Case Reports

2016/48 Establishment of the European Work Council (SK)

Keywords Work Council, establishment of the European Work Council
Authors Gabriel Havrilla and Dominika Šlesárová
AbstractAuthor's information

    Council Directive 94/45/EC (the ‘Directive’) determines the conditions for setting up a European Works Council or other means of providing information to employees in relation to employers that operate in more than one EU Member State. The aim of the Directive is to ensure employees are properly informed about their own employer and the company group operating in the EU, under their right to transnational information. In the case at hand, the courts needed to determine what conditions had to be met to set up a European Work Council and when a European Work Council would be established by operation of law.

Gabriel Havrilla
Gabriel Havrilla is a partner with Legal Counsels s.r.o.,

Dominika Šlesárová
Dominika Šlesárová is a junior associate with Legal Counsels s.r.o.,
Case Reports

2016/49 French state held liable for failing to transpose Article 7§1 of the Working Time Directive (FR)

Keywords Working time, paid leave
Authors Claire Toumieux and Susan Ekrami
AbstractAuthor's information

    The French state was held liable by the Administrative Court of Clermont-Ferrand for failing to transpose Article 7§1 of EU Directive 2003/88/EC on working time.

Claire Toumieux
Claire Toumieux and Susan Ekrami are a partner and associate with Allen & Overy LLP in Paris,

Susan Ekrami
ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 2 June 2016, case C-122/15 (C), Age discrimination

Keywords Age discrimination

    A supplementary tax on retirement income falls outside the scope of Directive 2000/78.

ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 14 June 2016, case C-308/14 (Commission – v – UK), Free movement, tax

European Commission – v – United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Keywords Free movement, tax

    UK child benefits may be refused to unlawfully resident Member State nationals.

ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 16 June 2016, case C-351/14 (Rodríguez Sánchez), Parental leave

Estrella Rodríguez Sánchez – v – Consum siciedad Cooperativa Valenciana

Keywords Parental leave

    The questions referred to the ECJ in this particular case on the interpretation of Clause 6(1) of the Framework Agreement on parental leave (employers must “consider and respond to” employees’ requests for changes to their working patterns) are inadmissible.

ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 16 June 2016, case C-159/15 (Lesar), Age discrimination

Franz Lesar – v – Telekom Austria AG

Keywords Age discrimination

    National law that excludes civil servants’ pre-18 service for pension purposes is not age discriminatory.

ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 30 June 2016, case C-178/15 (Sobczyszyn), Paid leave

Alicja Sobczyszyn – v – Szkola Podstawowa w Rzeplinie

Keywords Paid leave

    A worker who was unable to take paid annual leave on account of sick leave retains his right to annual leave.

ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 13 July 2016, case C-187/15 (Pöpperl), Free movement, pension

Joachim Pöpperl – v – Land Nordrhein-Westfalen

Keywords Free movement, pension

    The replacement of civil servants’ pension rights by less valuable general pension rights is contrary Article 45 TFEU.

ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 14 July 2016, case C-335/15 (Ornano), Maternity leave

Maria Cristina Elisabetta Ornan – v – Ministerio della Giustizia, Direzione Generale dei Magistrati del Ministerio

Keywords Maternity leave

    EU law does not give an employee on maternity a right to full pay while on leave.

ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 20 July 2016, case C-341/15 (Maschek), Paid leave

Hans Maschek – v – Magistratsdirektion de Stadt Wien – Personalstelle Wiener Stadtwerke

Keywords Paid leave

    The fact that a worker retires voluntarily does not deprive him of the right to payment in lieu of paid annual leave he was unable to use up on account of sickness.

ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 28 July 2016, case C-423/15 (Kratzer), Discrimination, abuse

Nils-Johannes Kratzer – v – R+V Allgemeine Versicherung AG

Keywords Discrimination, abuse

    Applying for a job for the purpose of claiming discrimination compensation after being turned down constitutes an abuse of right.

ECJ Court Watch

Case C-73/16. Data protection

Peter Puškár – v – Finančné riaditeľstvo Slovenskej republiky, Kriminálny úrad finančnej správy, reference lodged by the Slovakian Najvyšší súd Slovenskej republiky on 10 February 2016

Keywords Data protection
ECJ Court Watch

Case C-48/16. Commercial agents

ERGO Poisťovňa, a.s. – v – Alžbeta Barlíková, reference lodged by the Slovak Okresný súd Dunajská Streda on 27 January 2016

Keywords Commercial agents
ECJ Court Watch

Case C-97/16. Working time

José María Pérez Retamero – v – TNT Express Worldwide, S.L., Transportes Sapirod, S.L. and Fondo de Garantía Salarial (Fogasa), reference lodged by the Spanish Juzgado de lo Social No 3 de Barcelona on 17 February 2016

Keywords Working time
ECJ Court Watch

Case 89/16. Social security

Radosław Szoja – v – Sociálna poisťovňa, reference lodged by the Slovakian Najvyšší súd Slovenskej republiky on 15 February 2016

Keywords Social security
ECJ Court Watch

Case C-126/16. Transfer of undertakings

Federatie Nederlandse Vakvereniging and others – v – Smallsteps BV, reference lodged by the Dutch Rechtbank Midden-Nederland on 26 February 2016

Keywords Transfer of undertakings
ECJ Court Watch

Case C-103/16. Maternity

Jessica Porras Guisado – v – Bankia, S.A., Sección Sindical de Bankia de CCOO, Sección Sindical de Bankia de UGT, Sección Sindical de Bankia de ACCAM, Sección Sindical de Bankia de SATE, Sección Sindical de Bankia de CSICA, Fondo de Garantía Salarial (Fogasa), reference lodged by the Spanish Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Cataluña – Sala Social on 19 February 2016

Keywords Maternity
ECJ Court Watch

Case C-158/16. Fixed-term employment

Margarita Isabel Vega González – v – Consejería de Hacienda y Sector Público de la Administración del Principado de Asturias, reference lodged by the Spanish Juzgado Contencioso-Administrativo No 1 de Oviedo on 16 March 2016

Keywords Fixed-term employment
ECJ Court Watch

Case C-174/16. Parental leave and sex discrimination

H – v – Land Berlin, reference lodged by the German Verwaltungsgericht Berlin on 24 March 2016

Keywords Parent leave and seks discrimination
ECJ Court Watch

Case C-143/16. Age discrimination

Abercrombie & Fitch Italia Srl – v – Antonino Bordonaro, reference lodged by the Italian Corte suprema di cassazione on 9 March 2016

Keywords Age discrimination
ECJ Court Watch

Case C-200/16. Transfer of undertakings

Securitas – Serviços e Tecnologia de Segurança SA – v – ICTS Portugal – Consultadoria de Aviação Comercial SA and others, reference lodged by the Portuguese Supremo Tribunal de Justiça on 12 April 2016

Keywords Transfer of undertakings
ECJ Court Watch

Case C-175/16. Working time

Hannele Hälvä, Sari Naukkarinen, Pirjo Paajanen, Satu Piik – v – SOS-Lapsikylä ry, reference lodged by the Finnish Korkein oikeus on 29 March 2016

Keywords Working time
ECJ Court Watch

Case C-189/16. Social security

Boguslawa Zaniewicz-Dybeck – v – Pensionsmyndigheten, reference lodged by the Swedish Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen on 4 April 2016

Keywords Social security
ECtHR Court Watch

ECtHR 2 June 2016, application 23646/09. (Geotech), Freedom of Association

Geotech Kancev GmbH – v – Germany, German case

Keywords Freedom of association

    A company’s obligation to participate in the building industry’s Social Welfare Fund did not breach the company’s right to freedom of association, nor its right to protection of property.

ECtHR Court Watch

ECtHR 15 September 2016, application 44818/11. (Gurkha), Discrimination

British Gurkha Welfare Society and others – v – the United Kingdom

Keywords Discrimination

    The ECtHR found no violation of Article 14 of the Convention read together with Article 1 of Protocol 1, in the pension schemes applying to the Brigade of Gurkhas. Although Gurkha soldiers could be regarded as having been treated less favourably than other soldiers in the British army, any difference in treatment had been objectively and reasonably justified.