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Case Reports

2017/1 Early retirement pension cannot justify age discrimination (AU)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2017
Keywords Age discrimination
Authors Peter C. Schöffmann and Andreas Tinhofer
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Austrian Supreme Court has held that the selection of employees for redundancy because of their entitlement to an early retirement pension constitutes unfair dismissal on grounds of direct age discrimination. Although it was accepted that individual employers (here the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) can pursue a legitimate aim within the meaning of Article 6(1) of Directive 2000/78/EC, the means to achieve that aim were not considered appropriate and necessary. The Court stressed that a balance must be struck between the interests of older and younger employees, taking into account that it is generally easier for younger employees to find a new job. In the case at hand, however, the employer had not managed to show that its redundancy selection programme met that requirement.


Peter C. Schöffmann
Peter C. Schöffmann and Andreas Tinhofer are respectively an associate and partner at MOSATI Rechtsanwälte, www.mosati.at.

Andreas Tinhofer
Peter C. Schöffmann and Andreas Tinhofer are respectively an associate and partner at MOSATI Rechtsanwälte, www.mosati.at.

    In a precedent-setting case, the Danish Supreme Court recently ruled that a pregnant employee under notice, who claimed discrimination because she had not been reassigned to a vacant position that arose during the notice period, was not discriminated against.


Mariann Norrbom
Mariann Norrbom is a lawyer at Norrbom Vinding in Copenhagen, www.norrbomvinding.com.

    For the first time, a Belgian court has relied on the Kaltoft case, which holds that obesity may constitute a disability. That case gives rise to protection against discrimination, according to the Labour Tribunal of Liège, even if it is falsely presumed. This is the case where an employer sends an email to an applicant stating that the applicant cannot be hired because his or her obesity is a disability in relation to the job.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an attorney at Van Olmen & Wynant in Brussels, www.vow.be.

    The dismissal of a pregnant employee upon her employer’s business takeover was deemed to be unlawful discrimination.


Christiana Michael
Christiana Michael is a lawyer at George Z Georgiou & Associates LLC, www.georgezgeorgiou.com.

    Nederlandse kinderen lijken minder te weten over kinder- en mensenrechten dan andere kinderen in Europa. Om die reden zien beleidsmakers, wetenschappers en maatschappelijke organisaties een noodzaak om formele educatie op deze onderwerpen te introduceren in alle onderwijsniveaus. Wat denken middelbare leerlingen zelf hier echter over? Dit artikel onderzoekt het rechtsbewustzijn van kinderen in drie Nederlandse middelbare scholen ten aanzien van hun specifieke rechten als kinderen. Het wordt duidelijk dat kinderen ideeën en meningen hebben over hun rechten en daarmee een rechtsbewustzijn hebben, ook als zij geen rechtenjargon gebruiken. Hun rechtsbewustzijn bestaat uit moraliteit, wat verklaart dat zij bepaalde rechten zelf bedenken: sommige thema’s vinden zij zo belangrijk dat zij voelen dat ze deel uitmaken van hun fundamentele rechten als kinderen. Het integreren van mensenrechteneducatie in het schoolcurriculum zou een nodige, maar is een onvoldoende oplossing voor het ‘probleem’ dat voor ons ligt. Het is namelijk niet bewezen of meer kennis op deze onderwerpen ook leidt tot verandering van gedrag. De kinderen maakten namelijk ook bewuste keuzes om níet hun rechten in te roepen, maar om hun problemen anderszins op te lossen. Dit moet worden meegenomen om interventies effectief te laten zijn, zodat niet het tegenovergestelde van wat gewenst is, wordt bereikt. En effectieve interventies dienen daarnaast aan te sluiten bij het dagelijks leven van de kinderen. Volgens de leerlingen zijn kinderrechten vooral ook iets dat we moeten doen en oefenen.
    Dutch children seem to be less informed about children’s and human rights than their peers in other European states. Therefore, policy makers, academics and CSOs recognise a need to introduce formal education on these matters in all levels of schooling. But what do secondary school children themselves think about this? This article explores the legal consciousness of children in three Dutch schools on their specific rights as children. It has been evidenced that children have ideas and opinions about their rights and therefore have a legal consciousness, though without using the language of the law. Their legal consciousness consists of morality, which explains their ‘invention’ of certain rights: some themes are of such importance that they feel these are part of their fundamental rights as children. Integrating human rights education into the school curriculum may be a necessary, but is an insufficient solution to the ‘problem’ at hand. It has not been evidenced whether more knowledge changes their behavior. The children made informed decisions to not invoke their rights, and to solve their problems differently. Effective interventions need to take this into account in order to relate to their everyday lives and avoid having the opposite effect of what is intended. According to the students, children’s rights are mostly something to be done or practiced.


Carrie van der Kroon LL.M.
Carrie van der Kroon works as a programme officer on girls’ rights in the Global South at Defence for Children International – ECPAT the Netherlands. She obtained her masters in Legal Research (Cum Laude) at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, specialising in international children’s rights from a socio-legal perspective.
Case Reports

2016/52 Pregnancy and job offers (NL)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Gender, Pregnancy, Dismissal
Authors Anton van Leeuwen
AbstractAuthor's information

    A discriminatory refusal to offer an employee a new employment contract upon expiry of a fixed term contract is not discriminatory dismissal but a discriminatory refusal to give access to employment. The employer is liable for emotional damages.


Anton van Leeuwen
Anton van Leeuwen is an attorney at SteensmaEven in Rotterdam.
ECJ Court Watch

Case C-409/16. Sex discrimination

Ypourgos Esoterikon, Ypourgos Paideias kai Thriskevmaton – v – Maria-Eleni Kalliri, reference lodged by the Greek Symvoulio tis Epikrateias on 22 July 2016

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Gender discrimination
ECJ Court Watch

Case C-354/16. Part-time work and sex discrimination

Ute Kleinsteuber – v – Mars GmbH, reference lodged by the German Arbeitsgericht Verden on 27 June 2016

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Part-time work, Gender discrimination

    The Industrial Disputes Court considered certain substantive and procedural issues in the context of a claim for sexual harassment and victimisation. This case provides a good illustration of the principles the tribunals apply when examining sexual harassment cases and how these are interpreted by Cypriot employment courts.


Anna Praxitelous
Anna Praxitelous is a lawyer with George Z. Georgiou & Associates LLC, www.gzg.com.cy. This article was originally edited by, and first published on, www.internationallawoffice.com.

    The Austrian Supreme Court has ruled that the general prohibition of Muslim face veils by an employer does not constitute unlawful discrimination. In this landmark decision, Austria’s Supreme Court expresses the view that an uncovered face is a prerequisite to proper communication. Thus, termination of employment by reason of an employee’s refusal to come to work unless she can wear a face veil is not unlawful under the Austrian Equal Treatment Act. Whether this rule also applies to other religious clothing such as headscarves remains to be seen.


Hans Georg Laimer
Hans Georg Laimer is a partner at zeiler.partners Rechtsanwälte GmbH.

Lukas Wieser
Lukas Wieser is an attorney at law at zeiler.partners Rechtsanwälte GmbH.
Article

Access_open The Right to Mental Health in the Digital Era

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2016
Keywords E-health, e-mental health, right to health, right to mental health
Authors Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj
AbstractAuthor's information

    People with mental illness usually experience higher rates of disability and mortality. Often, health care systems do not adequately respond to the burden of mental disorders worldwide. The number of health care providers dealing with mental health care is insufficient in many countries. Equal access to necessary health services should be granted to mentally ill people without any discrimination. E-mental health is expected to enhance the quality of care as well as accessibility, availability and affordability of services. This paper examines under what conditions e-mental health can contribute to realising the right to health by using the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality (AAAQ) framework that is developed by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Research shows e-mental health facilitates dissemination of information, remote consultation and patient monitoring and might increase access to mental health care. Furthermore, patient participation might increase, and stigma and discrimination might be reduced by the use of e-mental health. However, e-mental health might not increase the access to health care for everyone, such as the digitally illiterate or those who do not have access to the Internet. The affordability of this service, when it is not covered by insurance, can be a barrier to access to this service. In addition, not all e-mental health services are acceptable and of good quality. Policy makers should adopt new legal policies to respond to the present and future developments of modern technologies in health, as well as e-Mental health. To analyse the impact of e-mental health on the right to health, additional research is necessary.


Fatemeh Kokabisaghi
Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj are Ph.D. candidates at the Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. All authors contributed equally.

Iris Bakx
Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj are Ph.D. candidates at the Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. All authors contributed equally.

Blerta Zenelaj
Fatemeh Kokabisaghi, Iris Bakx and Blerta Zenelaj are Ph.D. candidates at the Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. All authors contributed equally.
Article

Access_open A Theoretical Framework to Study Variations in Workplace Violence Experienced by Emergency Responders

Integrating Opportunity and Vulnerability Perspectives

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2016
Keywords Workplace aggression, workplace violence, emergency responders, blaming the victim, victimology
Authors Lisa van Reemst
AbstractAuthor's information

    Emergency responders are often sent to the front line and are often confronted with aggression and violence in interaction with citizens. According to previous studies, some professionals experience more workplace violence than others. In this article, the theoretical framework to study variations in workplace violence against emergency responders is described. According to criminal opportunity theories, which integrate the routine activity theory and lifestyle/exposure theory, victimisation is largely dependent on the lifestyle and routine activities of persons. Situational characteristics that could be related to workplace violence are organisational or task characteristics, such as having more contact with citizens or working at night. However, they do not provide insight in all aspects of influence, and their usefulness to reduce victimisation is limited. Therefore, it is important to consider the role of personal characteristics of the emergency responders that may be more or less ‘attractive’, which is elaborated upon by the victim precipitation theory. Psychological and behavioural characteristics of emergency responders may be relevant to reduce external workplace violence. The author argues that, despite the risk of being considered as blaming the victim, studying characteristics that might prevent victimisation is needed. Directions for future studies about workplace violence are discussed. These future studies should address a combination of victim and situation characteristics, use a longitudinal design and focus on emergency responders. In addition, differences between professions in relationships between characteristics and workplace violence should be explored.


Lisa van Reemst
Lisa van Reemst, M.Sc., is a Ph.D. candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Article

Prohibition of Discrimination: Citizenship as a Possible Discrimination Basis

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2016
Keywords anti-discrimination law, Serbian Law, harmonization, right to a personal name, European Court of Justice
Authors Olga Jović-Prlainović and Jelena Belović
AbstractAuthor's information

    In modern society, the right to equality is not just a universal moral obligation; it is rather an expression of a generally accepted rule in international law that all people have equal rights, independently of differences based on innate or acquired personal characteristics. Prohibition of discrimination is a civilization heritage, and it is determined by systematically overcoming prejudices and stereotypes as key factors of discrimination, where educational institutions, media, public authority, and non-governmental organizations all have a vital role. Tackling with discrimination is not just the application of rules regulated by law and taking necessary measures towards social groups which are in an unequal position, but it is also a continuous development of tolerance when it comes to ethnicity, religion, gender, minorities, as well as acceptance of the existing interpersonal differences. It is well known that the area of West Balkans is often a breeding ground where stereotypes and prejudices thrive for decades. The strategic aim of the Republic of Serbia is membership in the European Union, and so nation-wide law regulation concerning this matter is directed at complying with the European Union Law since the prohibition of discrimination is one of the pillars of the European Union Law. In this article, the influence of the European Union Law and practical measures taken by the European Court of Human Rights in order to prohibit discrimination in a specific international and private domain are analyzed.


Olga Jović-Prlainović
Olga Jović-Prlainović is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Pristina, Kosovska Mitrovica.

Jelena Belović
Jelena Belović is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Pristina, Kosovska Mitrovica.
Article

Equal Employment in Hungarian Labour Law

Effective Principle or Uncertain Framework

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2016
Authors Márton Leó Zaccaria
Author's information

Márton Leó Zaccaria
Senior lecturer, University of Debrecen Faculty of Law, Department of Agricultural Law, Environmental Law and Labour Law, Debrecen.
Article

Transforming Our World

New Agenda and Goals for Sustainable Development

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2016
Authors Zsuzsanna Horváth
Author's information

Zsuzsanna Horváth
Associate professor, University of Pécs, Faculty of Law, Department of International and European Law.
ECJ Court Watch

Case C-451/16. Sex discrimination

MB – v – Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, reference lodged by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom on 12 August 2016

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Gender discrimination
Article

Access_open The Justification of Basic Rights

A Discourse-Theoretical Approach

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2016
Keywords Basic rights, Right to justification, Discourse theory, Non-domination, Kant
Authors Rainer Forst
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this paper, I suggest a discourse theory of basic legal rights that is superior to rival approaches, such as a will-based or an interest-based theory of rights. Basic rights are reciprocally and generally justifiable and binding claims on others (agents or institutions) that they should do (or refrain from doing) certain things determined by the content of these rights. We call these rights basic because they define the status of persons as full members of a normative order in such a way that they provide protection from severe forms of legal, political and social domination. The very ground of these rights is the status of persons as free and equal normative authorities within the order they are subject to. In other words, these rights are grounded in a fundamental moral right to justification.


Rainer Forst
Rainer Forst is professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at the Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main.
Article

The Truth of Fiction: Literature as a Source of Insight into Social Conflict and Its Resolution

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 2 2016
Keywords literary approaches to conflict resolution, narrative theory, mass movements, social transformation, social injustice
Authors Angelica R. Martinez and Richard E. Rubenstein
AbstractAuthor's information

    The study of literature, although relatively new to the field of peace and conflict studies, has proven to be a valuable way to develop our understanding of violent social conflicts and the possible methods of resolving or transforming them. Literary texts present students of human conflict and conflict resolution with an appreciation of the power of “thick” descriptions of the human experience and the problems with “thin” modes of expression. Narrative and literary works reveal the indelible marks that violence and conflict inscribe on those left in their wake. Examining conflict through literature also grants students access to the ethical and moral dilemmas that people face as they navigate complex and oppressive social systems. A graduate-level course in “Conflict and Literature” taught for the past ten years at George Mason University provides evidence of these uses and suggests the possibility of further pedagogical developments.


Angelica R. Martinez
Angelica R. Martinez is a PhD candidate at George Mason University and the Branch Chief of Policy and Assessment for NATO’s Allied Land Command in Izmir, Turkey. She taught in the Department of Social Sciences at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point).

Richard E. Rubenstein
Richard E. Rubenstein is University Professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. His most recent book is Resolving Structural Conflicts: How Violent Systems Can Be Transformed (2017).

    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, www.lewissilkin.com.
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