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Case Reports

2019/43 Dismissal after childbirth-related leave (DK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2019
Keywords Gender discrimination
Authors Christian K. Clasen
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Danish Western High Court has ruled that the dismissal of an employee shortly after returning from childbirth-related leave did not constitute discrimination within the meaning of the Danish Act on Equal Treatment of Men and Women.


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

    The Court of Appeal (CA) has ruled that it was unlawful to discriminate against an employee because of a mistaken perception that she had a progressive condition which would make her unable to perform the full functions of the role in future.


Bethan Carney
Bethan Carney is a Managing Practice Development Lawyer at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    Relying on the prohibition of age discrimination stemming from Directive 2000/78, the Labour Tribunal of Leuven refused to apply a Collective Labour Agreement establishing the minimum monthly salary for employees depending on their work experience even if not relevant and the Royal Decree enforcing it. The jurisdiction grounded its decision on the fact that this gave a strong advantage to older employees without objective justification.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an attorney-at-law at Van Olmen & Wynant, Brussels, Belgium.
Article

The Right of Appeal against a Decision on Disciplinary Liability of a Judge

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2019
Keywords disciplinary proceedings, scope of judicial review, standard of judicial review, remedial measures
Authors Taras Pashuk PhD
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article deals with the questions of scope and the standard of judicial review of a disciplinary decision against a judge. It further addresses the issue of remedial powers, which should be granted to the reviewing authority in this type of cases. It is suggested that the scope of judicial review of a disciplinary decision against a judge should extend to questions of law, fact and discretion. What actually varies is the depth of review or, more precisely, the standards of review and the corresponding level of deference, which must be demonstrated to the primary decision-making authority. It is further suggested that there are several factors that have influence on the formation of the standards of review: the institutional, procedural and expertise factors. As to the remedial capacity, the reviewing court should be provided with the competence to apply adequate remedial measures. The reviewing court should be able to effectively eliminate the identified shortcomings in the proceedings before the first-instance authority. For the effective protection of the rights at issue, it may be important for the reviewing court not only to repeal the decision subject to review, but also take other remedial measures. The legitimacy and necessity for applying particular remedial action should be established by taking into account the same institutional, procedural and expertise factors.


Taras Pashuk PhD
PhD (Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine), lawyer at the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights. This article has been written in personal capacity, and the thoughts expressed in it cannot be attributed to any Council of Europe body.

    The Polish Supreme Court has held that a criterion of discrimination may also be a relationship of a social or familial nature that exists in the workplace and whose existence or absence on the part of the employee results in different treatment by the employer.


Marcin Wujczyk
Marcin Wujczyk is an attorney at law at Wardyński & Partners, Poland (https://www.wardynski.com.pl).

    In two appeal cases considered jointly, the Court of Appeal (CA) has ruled that it is not direct or indirect sex discrimination, nor a breach of equal pay rights, to provide enhanced pay for maternity leave and statutory pay only for shared parental leave (SPL).


Richard Lister
Richard Lister is a Managing Practice Development Lawyer at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    Under a former Austrian law effective until February 2019, Good Friday was a public holiday only for a minority belonging to certain Christian Evangelical churches. In the case at hand, Austrian courts had to assess if this regulation and its legal consequences were valid under European Union law, or if they constituted discrimination.


Dr. Jana Eichmeyer LL.M
Dr. Jana Eichmeyer, LL.M is a lawyer at Eisenberger & Herzog in Vienna (www.ehlaw.at).

Dr. Karolin Andréewitch
Dr. Karolin Andréewitch is a lawyer at Eisenberger & Herzog in Vienna (www.ehlaw.at).

    In a recent judgment, the Danish Supreme Court has established that it does not constitute unlawful discrimination under the Anti-Discrimination Act when a disabled employee is dismissed. The employee had a publicly funded reduced-hours job, but reached the statutory retirement age for which reason the public funding lapsed, and that was the reason for the dismissal.


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

    The Higher Administrative Court of Münster (Oberverwaltungsgericht, the ‘OVG’) has held that a minimum body height of 163 cm for applicants to the police service, irrespective of gender, is lawful. At least, this shall apply if the determination of a minimum body height standard is a suitability criterion for access to the police service. Minimum standards solely serve the purpose of ensuring fitness for service and result from a comprehensive investigation. The investigation in this case established that suitability for the police service can only be guaranteed from a height of 163 cm upwards.


Paul Schreiner
Paul Schreiner is a partner at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

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

    According to the Labour Court of Mons, calculating the termination indemnity of a worker based on the reduced remuneration paid during a career break called ‘time-credit’ is compatible with EU law, despite the Meerts judgment regarding parental leave.


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

2019/13 A long-term functional impairment? (DK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2019
Keywords Disability Discrimination
Authors Christian K. Clasen
AbstractAuthor's information

    An employee’s functional impairment, which at the time of dismissal had had a duration of 11 months and with an uncertain prognosis, was not deemed a long-term one. For that reason, the Danish Western High Court found that the employee was not disabled within the meaning of the Anti-Discrimination Act or Directive 2000/78 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation.


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

    The Supreme Court has ruled that a baker’s refusal to provide a cake with a slogan supporting gay marriage was not sexual orientation discrimination, nor discrimination on grounds of political belief. The Northern Ireland bakery was owned by Christians who had religious objections to gay marriage (they thought Christian doctrine holds that marriage can only take place between a man and a woman). Gay marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland, although it is in the rest of the United Kingdom. Gay couples can enter into a ‘civil partnership’ in Northern Ireland, which formalises the relationship and provides it with legal recognition in a similar way to marriage.


Soren Kristophersen
Soren Kristophersen is a Legal Assistant at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has clarified the grounds on which bad faith can be alleged in a victimisation claim under the Equality Act 2010 (‘EqA’). The EAT held that although motive in alleging victimisation could be relevant, the primary question is whether the employee acted honestly in giving the evidence or information, or in making the allegation. The concept of ‘bad faith’ is thus different in victimisation claims than whistleblowing claims.


Soyoung Lee
Soyoung Lee is an Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    A provision of Dutch law, according to which employees who lose their jobs upon retirement are excluded from the right to statutory severance compensation, is not in breach of the Framework Directive.


Peter C. Vas Nunes
Peter Vas Nunes is Of Counsel at BarentsKrans N.V., The Hague, the Netherlands.

    The Danish Supreme Court has held there was no discrimination against four part-time teachers at a university in that they did not receive pension contributions. Their positions could not be compared to those of full-time teachers, who were entitled to pension contributions. However, it did constitute a violation of the Danish rules on fixed-term work that the teachers had, for a number of years, been employed on several fixed-term contracts, as they had, in effect, been continuously employed in the same position. Consequently, the teachers were awarded compensation.


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

    The Finnish Supreme Court has held that an employer discriminated against an employee by not renewing his employment at the end of a fixed-term contract because he was overweight.


Janne Nurminen
Janne Nurminen is a Senior Associate with Roschier, Attorneys Ltd in Helsinki, www.roschier.com.

    The Court of Appeal has confirmed that an expectation that a disabled employee would work long hours was a ‘provision, criterion or practice’ in a disability discrimination claim regarding reasonable adjustments. It also held that, on the facts, the employer’s conduct had caused the employee to resign and this entitled him to claim constructive unfair dismissal.


Tom McEvoy
Tom McEvoy is an Associate Solicitor at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The Court of Appeal has confirmed that discrimination arising from disability had occurred when an employer dismissed an employee for misconduct which was connected to the employee’s disability, even though the employer had no knowledge of the connection.


Emma Langhorn
Emma Langhorn is an Associate Solicitor at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The Court of Appeal has overruled the recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision in Efobi – v – Royal Mail [2017] IRLR 956 (reported in EELC 2017/41), restoring the previous position that a claimant in a discrimination case has the initial burden of proof – which ‘shifts’ to the respondent to provide an explanation of why its conduct was non-discriminatory if a prima facie case is proven.
    The Court of Appeal disagreed with Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing’s ruling in Efobi, that section136 of the Equality Act 2010 had made a substantial change to the law when it was introduced, on the basis that it could not be fair that a respondent should have to discharge the burden of proof without the claimant first showing that there is a case to be answered. Lord Singh ruled that it could not have been Parliament’s intention to remove this initial burden of proof when it enacted the Equality Act.


Kayleigh Williams
Kayleigh Williams is a paralegal at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    A clause in a collective bargaining agreement stipulating that overtime premiums for part time employees are only payable if their monthly working hours exceed those of a full-time employee is not discriminatory.


Paul Schreiner
Paul Schreiner is a partner with Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH in Essen, www.luther-lawfirm.com.
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