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European Employment Law Cases

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Issue 1, 2021 Expand all abstracts
Editorial

To govern is to predict

Authors Zef Even

Zef Even
Case Law

Access_open 2021/1 EELC’s review of the year 2020

Authors Ruben Houweling, Daiva Petrylaitė, Marianne Hrdlicka e.a.
Abstract

    Various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year. However, first, we start with some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Daiva Petrylaitė

Marianne Hrdlicka

Attila Kun

Luca Calcaterra

Francesca Maffei

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Niklas Bruun

Jan-Pieter Vos

Luca Ratti

Andrej Poruban

Anthony Kerr

Filip Dorssemont
Case Reports

2021/2 Warning strike timing (HU)

Keywords Collective Agreements, Unions, Other Fundamental Rights
Authors Zsófia Oláh and Ildikó Rácz
AbstractAuthor's information

    This case involved an employer who claimed that a trade union organised an unlawful warning strike. The Curia (the highest judicial authority in Hungary) found that the trade union violated its obligation to cooperate with the employer according to Act No. 7 of 1989 on Strikes. The Curia and also the Regional Courts made some clear points on the question of the timing of a warning strike. The employer must be notified of a planned strike in sufficient time, which requirement also applies in the case of warning strikes. The time can be considered as sufficient if the employer is able to fulfil its rights to protect its property, prevent damage resulting from the strike, to carry out its duties to protect life and property, and to organise work accordingly. Failing this obligation, the warning strike is unlawful. The notice shall state the date and time that such action will commence.


Zsófia Oláh
Zsófia Oláh is a Partner at OPL Law Firm.

Ildikó Rácz
Ildikó Rácz is a Junior Associate at OPL Law Firm.
Case Reports

2021/3 Application of a collective agreement and discrimination based on membership (non-membership) of a trade union (LT)

Keywords Collective Agreements, Other Forms of Discrimination
Authors Vida Petrylaitė
AbstractAuthor's information

    On 16 December 2020, the Supreme Court of Lithuania (Cassation Court) delivered a ruling in a case where an employee claimed that the employer, JSC ‘Lithuanian Railways’, did not apply the regulations of the company’s employer-level collective agreement and did not pay a special bonus – an anniversary benefit (i.e. a benefit paid to employees on reaching a certain age) – because the employee was not a member of the trade union which had signed the collective agreement. According to the employee, she was discriminated against because of her membership of another trade union, i.e membership of the ‘wrong’ trade union.
    The Supreme Court held that combatting discrimination under certain grounds falls within the competence and scope of EU law, but that discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership is not distinguished as a form of discrimination. Also, the Court ruled that in this case (contrary to what the employee claimed in her cassation appeal) Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) is not applicable because it regulates the prohibition of discrimination on other (sex) grounds. Moreover, the Court found that there was no legal basis for relying on the relevant case law of the ECJ which provides clarification on other forms of discrimination, but not on discrimination based on trade union membership.


Vida Petrylaitė
Vida Petrylaitė is an associate professor at Vilnius university.
Case Reports

2021/4 Budget considerations can justify indirect discrimination (UK)

Keywords Discrimination General, Age Discrimination
Authors Carolyn Soakell
AbstractAuthor's information

    If an employer has a policy which is indirectly discriminatory and the employer’s aim is no more than saving money, the Court of Appeal (CA) has ruled that this cannot justify the discrimination. However, needing to balance the books can potentially be a valid justification for indirect discrimination.


Carolyn Soakell
Carolyn Soakell is a partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    An adjudication officer of the Irish Workplace Relations Commission has ruled that an upper age limit for entrance to An Garda Síochána (the national police force) was discriminatory on the grounds of age.


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

2021/6 Conclusion of the ECJ case on whether obesity may constitute a disability (DK)

Keywords Disability Discrimination
Authors Christian K. Clasen
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2014, the ECJ was presented with a preliminary reference from the District Court in Kolding on the matter of whether EU law provides protection against discrimination on grounds of obesity with regard to employment and occupation. Following the ECJ’s ruling, first the District Court and later the High Court found that an employee’s obesity as such did not constitute a disability within the meaning of Directive 2000/78/EC establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation since his obesity had not constituted a limitation or inconvenience in the performance of his job.


Christian K. Clasen
Christian K. Clasen is a partner at Norrbom Vinding.

    The Vaslui Tribunal has recently annulled an individual dismissal decision issued during the state of alert in Romania due to formalities which had not been observed by the employer. While the judge invested with determining the matter limited their analysis to the elements contained in the individual dismissal decision, the judicial assistant ascertained, within a competing opinion, that the dismissal decision should have been annulled for other reasons, namely for the fact that, in reality, the employer had implemented a collective redundancy process without observing the procedure and employees’ rights in the event of such dismissal. Relying on the provisions of Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies, the judicial assistant has made an exhaustive analysis of the conditions required for the existence of a collective dismissal.
    While the competing opinion does not have the same effect as a court ruling, it is part of the judicial procedure and, from this perspective, the independence and impartiality of all the members of the court and their obedience solely to the law is maintained.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is Managing Partner of Suciu I The Employment Law Firm.

Andreea Serban
Andreea Serban is an attorney-at-law at Suciu I The Employment Law Firm.

    The UK failed properly to implement EU health and safety law by restricting protection from detriment on health and safety grounds to ‘employees’, the High Court (HC) ruled in a recent case. Such protection should be extended to the broader category of ‘workers’. Importantly, this ruling potentially increases employers’ exposure to Covid-19-related health and safety claims.


Shalina Crossley
Shalina Crossley is Partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.
Case Reports

2021/9 AGET Iraklis: another belated victory for the employer (GR)

Keywords Information & Consultation, Collective Redundancies
Authors Effie Mitsopoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Supreme Court of Greece has clarified that the validity of terminations is not affected by the lack of consultation with the employees’ representatives, as per Directive 2002/14/EC on a general framework for informing and consulting employees. In case of non-compliance with such obligation, alternative administrative or judicial measures can be provided by the Member States. It further reiterated that the expediency and necessity of the company’s business decision to suddenly interrupt its plant operation cannot be subject to judicial control.


Effie Mitsopoulou
Effie Mitsopoulou is an attorney-at-law at Effie Mitsopoulou Law Office.

    The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that an employee’s right to a guaranteed payment from the Guaranteed Receivables Fund arises only after a court decision for opening of bankruptcy proceedings has been issued and the decision has been published in the Commercial Register with the Registry Agency of the Republic of Bulgaria. Therefore, if this condition is not met, the employee is not entitled to such payment even if the employer is de facto insolvent.


Kalina Tchakarova
Kalina Tchakarova is a partner at Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov and Velichkov.

    According to German law, leave entitlements of an employee shall in principle expire at the end of the calendar year or a permissible carryover period. However, based on the case law of the ECJ, this shall only apply if the employer has previously enabled and summoned the employee to take leave and the employee has nevertheless not taken it. But what happens if an employee is incapacitated for work for a longer period of time and therefore is unable to take his or her annual leave? Does the employer also have to inform this employee about their leave entitlement? The Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, ‘BAG’) recently had to deal with this question in two cases and now the ECJ will have to address this matter. This is because the BAG has asked the ECJ to decide whether and when an employee’s entitlement to paid leave can expire if an employee loses their ability to work during the course of the leave year, while the employee could have taken at least part of the annual leave before becoming incapacitated for work, but the employee was not properly informed by the employer about their leave entitlement.


Katharina Gorontzi
Katharina Gorontzi is an attorney-at-law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

Nina Stephan
Nina Stephan is an attorney-at-law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

Jule Rosauer
Jule Rosauer is a legal trainee at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.
Case Reports

2021/12 Expiry of untaken annual leave and entitlement to compensation (SI)

Keywords Paid Leave
Authors Petra Smolnikar and Tjaša Marinček
AbstractAuthor's information

    Following ECJ case law, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia has ruled that a worker is entitled to compensation for unused annual leave in the event that the termination of employment has occurred 15 months after the end of the transfer period (i.e. the period for the transfer of the right to use annual leave) provided for in national legislation. The relevant transposition period is therefore three months longer than the transposition period set out in the Slovenian law.


Petra Smolnikar
Petra Smolnikar is the founder and manager at PETRA SMOLNIKAR LAW.

Tjaša Marinček
Tjaša Marinček is a student assistant at PETRA SMOLNIKAR LAW.
Landmark Ruling

ECJ 9 March 2021, Case C-344/19 (Radiotelevizija Slovenija), Working Time

DJ – v – Radiotelevizija Slovenija, Slovenian case

Keywords Working Time
Abstract

    A period of stand-by time according to a stand-by system is not, in its entirety, working time unless the constraints imposed on the worker very significantly affect his or her ability to manage, during that period, his or her freetime.

Landmark Ruling

ECJ 9 March 2021, Case C-580/19 (Stadt Offenbach am Main), Working Time

RJ – v – Stadt Offenbach am Main, German case

Keywords Working Time
Abstract

    A period of stand-by time according to a stand-by system is not, in its entirety, working time unless the constraints imposed on the worker very significantly affect his or her ability to manage, during that period, his or her freetime.

Rulings

ECJ 8 December 2020, case C-620/18 (Hungary v Parliament and Council), Posting of Workers and Expatriates

Hungary – v – European Parliament and Council of the European Union, EU Case

Keywords Posting of workers and Expatriates
Abstract

    Denial of action to annul provisions of Directive 2018/957.

Rulings

ECJ 8 December 2020, case C-626/18 (Republic of Poland v Parliament and Council), Posting of Workers and Expatriates

Republic of Poland – v – European Parliament and Council of the European Union, EU Case

Keywords Posting of workers and Expatriates
Abstract

    Denial of action to annul provisions of Directive 2018/957.

Rulings

ECJ 17 December 2020, case C-218/19 (Onofrei), Work and Residence Permit

Adina Onofrei – v – Conseil de l’ordre des avocats au barreau de Paris, Bâtonnier de l’ordre des avocats au barreau de Paris, Procureur général près la cour d’appel de Paris, French case

Keywords Work and Residence Permit
Abstract

Rulings

ECJ 17 December 2020, case C-710/19 (G. M. A. (Demandeur d’emploi)), Social Insurance

G.M.A. – v – Belgium, Belgian case

Keywords Social Insurance
Abstract

    A host state must grant a Union citizen a reasonable period to find a job.

Rulings

ECJ 17 December 2020, case C-601/19 P (BP v FRA), Miscellaneous

BP – v – European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), EU Case

Keywords Miscellaneous
Abstract

    Appeal against non-renewal of fixed-term contract found invalid.

Rulings

ECJ 21 January 2021, C-843/19 (INSS), Gender Discrimination, Pension

Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social (INSS) – v – BT

Keywords Gender Discrimination, Pension
Abstract

    Requiring a minimum pension amount for allowing early retirement is not contrary to Article 4(1) of Directive 79/7 even if it puts female workers at a particular disadvantage, provided that this is justified by legitimate reasons of social policy which are not related to gender discrimination.

Rulings

ECJ 26 January 2021, Case C-16/19 (Szpital Kliniczny im. dra J. Babińskiego Samodzielny Publiczny Zakład Opieki Zdrowotnej w Krakowie), Disability Discrimination, General Discrimination

VL – v – Szpital Kliniczny im. dra J. Babińskiego Samodzielny Publiczny Zakład Opieki Zdrowotnej w Krakowie, Polish Case

Keywords Disability Discrimination, General Discrimination
Abstract

    Payment of an allowance only to workers with disabilities who have submitted disability certificates after a date chosen by that employer may constitute direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of disability.

Rulings

ECJ 4 February 2021, Case C-903/19 (Ministre de la Transition écologique en solidaire en Ministre de l’Action en des Comptes publics), Pension, Miscellaneous

DQ – v – Ministre de la Transition écologique et solidaire, EU Case

Keywords Pension, Miscellaneous
Abstract

    Transfer of the actuarial equivalent of pension rights from the EU pension scheme to a national scheme is possible not only if the employee enters the national administration for the first time, but also if s/he returns to it.

Rulings

ECJ 11 February 2021, Case C-760/18 (M.V. and Others (Contrats de travail à durée déterminée successifs dans le secteur public)), Fixed-Term Work

M.V. and Others – v – Organismos Topikis Aftodioikisis (OTA) ‘Dimos Agiou Nikolaou’, Greek case

Keywords Fixed-Term Work
Abstract

    The concept of “successive fixed-term contracts” in Clause 1 and 5(2) of the framework agreement on fixed-term work (annexed to Directive 1999/70/EC) also covers automatic extensions, even if they do not meet formal national requirements. The referring court must undertake, to the fullest extent possible, assess whether national law can be interpreted in conformity with the directive.

Rulings

ECJ 11 February 2021, Joined Cases C-407/19 and C-471/19 (Katoen Natie Bulk Terminals and General Services Antwerp), Other Forms of Free Movement

Katoen Natie Bulk Terminals NV and General Services Antwerp NV – v – Belgische Staat and Middlegate Europe NV – v – Ministerraad, Belgian cases

Keywords Other Forms of Free Movement
Abstract

    Legislation which reserves dock work to recognised workers may be compatible with EU law if it is aimed at ensuring safety in port areas and preventing workplace accidents. However, the intervention of a joint administrative committee in the recognition of dockers is neither necessary nor appropriate for attaining the objective pursued.

Rulings

ECJ 25 February 2021, Case C-804/19 (Markt24), Competency

BU – v – Markt24 GmbH, Austrian Case

Keywords Competency
Abstract

    Section 5 of Chapter II of Regulation (EU) No. 1215/2012 also apply if an employee in one member state was recruited to work in another member state, even though that work was not performed for a reason attributable to that employer. They preclude the application of national rules of jurisdiction in respect of an action irrespective of whether those rules are more beneficial to the employee.

Rulings

ECJ 25 February 2021, Case C-129/20 (Caisse pour l’avenir des enfants (Emploi à la naissance)), Maternity and Parental Leave

XI – v – Caisse pour l’avenir des enfants, Luxembourg case

Keywords Maternity and Parental Leave
Abstract

    While Member States can require that a parent has been uninterruptedly employed during the year prior to the start of the parental leave, they cannot require that s/he was employed during when the child was born or adopted.

Rulings

ECJ 25 February 2021, Case C-940/19 (Les Chirurgiens-Dentistes de France and Others), Work and Residence Permit

Les chirurgiens-dentistes de France and Others – v – Ministre des Solidarités et de la Santé and Others, French case

Keywords Work and Residence Permit
Abstract

    Member States may authorise partial access to certain healthcare professions subject to the automatic recognition of professional qualifications; however this applies to the professions but not the professionals benefiting from automatic recognition, who should have full access to the activities covered by the corresponding profession in the host Member State.

Rulings

ECJ 10 March 2021, Case C-739/19 (An Bord Pleanála), Other Forms of Free Movement

VK – v – An Bord Pleanála, Irish Case

Keywords Other Forms of Free Movement
Abstract

    In principle, a Member State can require an attorney-at-law from another Member State to cooperate with a local attorney-at-law during litigation, but a general obligation not taking the experience of the visiting laywer into account would go beyond what is necessary in order to attain the objective of the proper administration of justice

Rulings

ECJ 17 March 2021, Case C-585/19 (Academia de Studii Economice din Bucureşti), Working Time

Academia de Studii Economice din Bucureops ti – v – Organismul Intermediar pentru Programul Operaţional Capital Uman – Ministerul Educaţiei Naţionale, Romanian Case

Keywords Working Time
Abstract

    Where a worker has concluded more than one employment contract with the same employer, the minimum daily rest period applies to the contracts taken as a whole and not to each of the contracts taken separately.

Rulings

ECJ 17 March 2021, Case C-652/19 (Consulmarketing), Fixed-Term Work, Collective Redundancies

KO – v – Consulmarketing SpA , Italian Case

Keywords Fixed-Term Work, Collective Redundancies
Abstract

    Italian regulations regarding collective redundancies found outside scope of Directive 98/59 and hence cannot be assessed against articles 20 and 30 of the Charter. Transitional scheme regarding conversion of fixed-term contracts into contracts for an indefinite term not found contrary to Clause 4 of the Framework Agreement on Fixed-Term Work (Directive 1999/70). Unfortunately, no English version of the judgment is available.

Rulings

ECJ 24 March 2021, case C-950/19 (A), Miscellaneous, Other Fundamental Rights

A. Intervening party: Patentti- ja rekisterihallituksen tilintarkastuslautakunta, Finnish Case

Keywords Miscellaneous, Other Fundamental Rights
Abstract

    The prohibition to ‘take up a position’ within the meaning of Article 22(a)(1)(a) of Directive 2006/43 includes concluding an employment contract, even if the employee has not yet begun to actually perform his or her duties in that post.

Rulings

ECJ 24 March 2021, joined cases C-870/19 and C-871/19 (Prefettura Ufficio territoriale del governo di Firenze), Working Time, Miscellaneous

Prefettura Ufficio territoriale del governo di Firenze – v – MI (C-870/19) and TB (C-871/19), Italian Case

Keywords Working Time, Miscellaneous
Abstract

    Lorry, motor coach and bus drivers who, during an inspection, do not produce the record sheets for the tachograph relating to the current day and the previous 28 days are subject to a single penalty, irrespective of the number of missing record sheets

Rulings

ECtHR 17 December 2020, application no. 73544/14 (Novaković), Age Discrimination, Race, Nationality Discrimination, Other Fundamental Rights

Mile Novaković – v – Croatia

Keywords Age Discrimination, Race, Nationality Discrimination, Other Fundamental Rights
Abstract

    Unjustified dismissal of Serbian ethnic origin teacher for failing to use standard Croatian in class, considered unable to adapt due to pre-retirement age.

Rulings

ECJ 25 March 2021, joined cases C-517/19 P and C-518/19 P (Alvarez y Bejarano and Others – v – Commission), Miscellaneous

María Álvarez y Bejarano and Others – v – European Commission (C-517/19 P), Council of the European Union (C-157/19 P and C-518 P) and European Parliament (C-157/19 P and C-518 P), EU Case

Keywords Miscellaneous
Abstract

    Internal EU Case. Rejection of appeals to EC’s and Council’s decision to revoke officials’ rights to (i) leave of 2.5 days for travelling to the home country and (ii) to a fixed allowance for travelling expenses.

Pending Cases

Case C-574/20, Social Insurance

XO – v – Finanzamt Waldviertel, reference lodged by the Bundesfinanzgericht (Austria) on 3 November 2020

Keywords Social Insurance
Pending Cases

Case C-576/20, Social Insurance, Pensions

CC – v – Pensionsversicherungsanstalt, reference lodged by the Oberster Gerichtshof (Austria) on 4 November 2020

Keywords Social Insurance, Pensions
Pending Cases

Case C-577/20, Work and Residence Permit

A – v – Sosiaali-ja terveysalan lupa-ja valvontavirasto, reference lodged by the orkein hallinto-oikeus (Finland) on 4 November 2020

Keywords Work and residence permit
Pending Cases

Case C-587/20, Other Forms of Discrimination

Ligebehandlingsnævnet as representative of A – v – HK/Danmark and HK/Privat, reference lodged by the Østre Landsret (Denmark) on 9 November 2020

Keywords Other Forms of Discrimination
Pending Cases

Case C-625/20, Social Insurance, Gender Discrimination

KM – v – Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social (INSS), reference lodged by the Juzgado de lo Social n.º 26 de Barcelona (Spain) on 19 November 2020

Keywords Social Insurance, Gender Discrimination
Pending Cases

Case C-634/20, Work and Residence Permit

A – v – Sosiaali- ja terveysalan lupa- ja valvontavirasto, reference lodged by the Korkein hallinto-oikeus (Finland) on 25 November 2020

Keywords Work and Residence Permit
Pending Cases

Case C-660/20, Part Time Work

MK – v – Lufthansa CityLine GmbH, reference lodged by the Bundesarbeitsgericht (Germany) on 4 December 2020

Keywords Part Time Work
Pending Cases

Case C-677/20, Information and Consultation, Miscellaneous

Industriegewerkschaft Metall (IG Metall) and ver.di – Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft, reference lodged by the Bundesarbeitsgericht (Germany) on 11 December 2020

Keywords Information and Consultation, Miscellaneous
Pending Cases

Case C-713/20, Social Insurance, Temporary Agency Work

X,Y – v – Raad van bestuur van de Sociale verzekeringsbank, reference lodged by the Centrale Raad van Beroep (the Netherlands) on 24 December 2020

Keywords Social Insurance, Temporary Agency Work
Pending Cases

Case C-3/21, Social Insurance

FS – v – Chief Appeals Officer and Others, reference lodged by the High Court (Ireland) on 4 January 2021

Keywords Social Insurance
Pending Cases

Case C-715/20, Fixed-Term Work

KL – v – X, reference lodged by the Sąd Rejonowy dla Krakowa–Nowej Huty w Krakowie (Poland) on 18 December 2020

Keywords Fixed-Term Work
Pending Cases

Case C-33/21, Social Insurance

Istituto nazionale per l’assicurazione contro gli infortuni sul lavoro (INAIL), Istituto nazionale della previdenza sociale (INPS) – v – Ryanair DAC, reference lodged by the Corte suprema di cassazione on 18 January 2021

Keywords Social Insurance
Pending Cases

Case C-22/21, Other Forms of Free Movement

SRS and AA – v – Minister for Justice and Equality, reference lodged by the Supreme Court (Ireland) on 14 January 2021

Keywords Other Forms of Free Movement
Pending Cases

Case C-58/21, Social Insurance

FK – v – Rechtsanwaltskammer Wien

Keywords Social Insurance
Pending Cases

Case C-86/21, Social Insurance

Gerencia Regional de Salud de Castilla y León – v – Delia, reference lodged by the Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Castilla y León (Spain) on 11 February 2021

Keywords Social Insurance