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    On 12 October 2020, the Labour Court of Appeal of Ghent ruled that there was no indirect discrimination in the case of Mrs. Achbita, because a policy of neutrality does not disadvantage Muslim women who want to wear a headscarf more than any other worker. The Labour Court of Appeal was also of the opinion that the employer should not examine alternative job positions.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an attorney-at-law at Van Olmen & Wynant.

    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.
Case Law

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

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
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

    This article focuses on the posting of workers in the aviation industry. The main problem is that it is not clear in which situations the Posting of Workers Directive should be applied to aircrew (i.e. cabin crew and pilots). The aviation sector is characterised by a very mobile workforce in which it is possible for employees to provide services from different countries in a very short timeframe. This makes it, to a certain extent, easier for employers to choose the applicable social legislation, which can lead to detrimental working conditions for their aircrew. This article looks into how the Posting of Workers Directive can prevent some air carriers from unilaterally determining the applicable social legislation and makes some suggestions to end unfair social competition in the sector. This article is based on a research report which the authors drafted in 2019 with funding from the European Commission (hereafter the ‘Report’)


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert (PhD) is senior associate at the Brussels law firm Van Olmen & Wynant.

Pieter Pecinovsky
Pieter Pecinovsky (PhD) is counsel at the Brussels law firm Van Olmen & Wynant.

    In a recent Supreme Court decision, it was held by a 4-1 majority that there is no reason, in principle, why the provision of ‘reasonable accommodation’ for an employee with a disability should not involve the redistribution of duties.


Orla O’Leary
Orla O’Leary is an attorney-at-law at Mason Hayes & Curran, Dublin.

    The Belgian Court of Cassation (Supreme Court), in a decision of 20 January 2020, has ruled that the prohibition for an employer to terminate the employment relationship of a worker for reasons related to a complaint for acts of violence and/or moral and/or sexual harassment at work does not, however, preclude the dismissal from being justified by motives inferred from the facts set out in the complaint.


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

    The Brussels Labour Court of Appeal, in a judgment of 10 September 2019, has ruled that the notion of ‘maternity’ contained in the Belgian Gender Act does not go as far as protecting mothers against discrimination with regards to childcare, since this would confirm a patriarchal role pattern. However, a recent legislative change introducing ‘paternity’ as a protected ground might cast doubt on the relevance of this ruling for the future.


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

    Many national decisions in Germany in the past had to deal with employers’ requirements regarding religious symbols in the workplace. Also, in 2017, the ECJ has dealt with two matters of such. Whilst the ECJ strictly refers to the principles of entrepreneurial freedom, the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, the ‘BAG’) tends to give priority to religious freedom. Last year, the BAG appealed to the ECJ for final clarification, in particular regarding the relationship between the basic rights of entrepreneurs and the constitutional right to religious freedom, by way of a preliminary ruling procedure with its decision dated 30 January 2019.


Caroline Dressel
Caroline Dressel is an attorney-at-law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbh

    Relying on the prohibition of age discrimination stemming from Directive 2000/78, the Brussels Labour Tribunal, in a judgment of 28 November 2019, ruled that an age limit of 25 for the recruitment of air traffic controllers constituted direct discrimination. Its decision was grounded on the fact that even if there are objective reasons related to air traffic safety which may justify setting an age limit for applicants, the employer must adduce concrete evidence based on scientific facts.


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

    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.

    The Latvian Supreme Court recently used the ECJ Max Planck and Kreuziger judgments to explain how an employer can escape its obligation to compensate an employee for unused leave at the end of the employment relationship. The employer must prove that (a) it was possible for the employee to use the leave, and (b) the employer has in good time informed the employee that leave, if not used, might be lost and will not be compensated.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an Attorney at Van Olmen & Wynant.

    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.

    According to the Belgian Supreme Court, a choice of Belgian law for an employment relationship extends to all provisions beyond the employment contract. If parties choose to apply Belgian law to their employment relationship, this choice may extend to all provisions of Belgian law which regulate the mutual rights and obligations of the parties. This includes legislation on well-being at work and, hence, the payment of a protection indemnity following dismissal after filing a claim for harassment.


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

    The Oporto Court of Appeal held that the employee’s availability 24 hours per day, 6 days per week, breaches the employee’s right to rest. However, such breach does not qualify the availability periods as overtime. The Court also found that the continuous use of a GPS system breached the employee’s right to privacy.


Dora Joana
Dora Joana is a managing associate with SRS Advogados, Lisbon.

    The Labour Court of Brussels treats the long-term effects of cancer as a disability in accordance with the case law of the ECJ. This has triggered an obligation on employers to consider making reasonable adjustments before looking at dismissal.


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

    The transferee in this case attempted to replace the transferred employees’ salaries with lower in accordance with its collective agreement, compensating for the reduction by means of a ‘personal allowance’, which it then proceeded to reduce by a set percentage based on the age of the employees each time there was a wage increase. The court held that this ‘basket comparison’ method of harmonising the wages of old and new staff was at odds with Directive 2001/23, rejecting the transferee’s argument that the ‘ETO’ provision in that directive permits such an amendment of the terms of employment.


Shamy Sripal
Shamy Sripal works for the Department of Labour Law of Erasmus School of Law.
Case Reports

2018/22 What is a collective agreement? Part two (DK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2018
Keywords Collective agreements
Authors Christian K. Clasen
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Danish Supreme Court has upheld the decision from the Danish Eastern High Court (reported in EELC 2017/26) on the implementation of the Working Time Directive to the effect that an ‘intervention act’ can be deemed to be a collective agreement within the meaning of Article 18 of the Working Time Directive.


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

2018/27 Citizen’s rights after Brexit: no preliminary questions to the ECJ (NL)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2018
Keywords Free movement, Work and residence permit, Other forms of free movement
Authors Jan-Pieter Vos
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Amsterdam Court of First Instance had contemplated asking certain preliminary questions to the ECJ about the EU rights of UK citizens residing outside the UK (see EELC 2018/18), but the Court of Appeal has now refused this, considering the underlying claims to be too vague.


Jan-Pieter Vos
Jan-Pieter Vos is a lecturer in labour law at Erasmus University Rotterdam

    The Labour Court of Brussels ordered an employer to pay a protection indemnity to an employee following termination on the basis of reorganisation during her pregnancy because (i) the employee benefited from a specific protection against dismissal and (ii) the employer failed to prove that the dismissal of the employee was based on reasons unrelated to the pregnancy.


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