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Case Reports

2020/14 Sickness absence related to employee’s disability (DK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Disability Discrimination, Unfair Dismissal
Authors Christian K. Clasen
AbstractAuthor's information

    Recently, the Danish Eastern High Court found that an employee’s sickness absence was a result of the employer’s failure to comply with its obligation to offer reasonable accommodation for the employee’s disability. For that reason the employee, who was dismissed in pursuance of the Danish ‘120-day rule’, was entitled to compensation for unfair dismissal under the Danish Anti-Discrimination Act.


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

    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 Danish Western High Court recently found that an employee who had entered into a severance agreement – and who was represented by her professional organisation during this process – was barred from claiming compensation under the Danish Anti-Discrimination Act, implementing Directive 2000/78.


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

    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.
Case Reports

2020/6 Supreme Court judgment on the concept of comparable permanent employees (DK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Fixed-term work, Other forms of discrimination
Authors Christian K. Clasen
AbstractAuthor's information

    In a recent case on fixed-term employment, the Danish Supreme Court addressed the question of what constitutes a comparable permanent employee. The Supreme Court ruled that four employees, who worked in a government agency, were not comparable with the agency’s permanent employees and for this reason they had not been discriminated against on the grounds of their fixed-term contracts.


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

    The European Commission recently conducted a public consultation on the measures that may be taken to ensure the full application of the principle of equal pay between women and men. Its evaluation report is expected before the end of this year. The new Swiss legislation on monitoring and disclosure of the gender pay gap may be inspiration for future EU initiatives in this area.


Sara Rousselle-Ruffieux
Sara Rousselle-Ruffieux is an attorney-at-law at Lenz & Staehelin, Geneva, Switzerland.
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.

    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.

    Austrian courts have to deal with an increasing number of cases concerning dismissal on grounds of (alleged) discrimination. The particular challenge is to a draw a conclusive distinction between the concepts of disability and sickness.


Peter C. Schöffmann
Peter C. Schöffmann is a teaching and research associate at the Institute for Austrian and European Labour Law and Social Security Law at Vienna University of Economics and Business, www.wu.ac.at/en/ars.
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 Finnish Supreme Court held that a transfer of undertaking had taken place in a situation where no contract of transfer was concluded.


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

    The Danish Western High Court recently ruled that the Danish Act on Employees’ Rights on Transfers of Undertakings did not apply to two municipalities’ repatriation of home care services after a private-sector service provider went bankrupt.


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

Transformative Welfare Reform in Consensus Democracies

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2019
Keywords consensus democracy, welfare state, social investment, transformative reform, Belgium and the Netherlands
Authors Anton Hemerijck and Kees van Kersbergen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article takes up Lijphart’s claim that consensus democracy is a ‘kinder, gentler’ form of democracy than majoritarian democracy. We zoom in on contemporary welfare state change, particularly the shift towards social investment, and argue that the kinder, gentler hypothesis remains relevant. Consensus democracies stand out in regard to the extent to which their political institutions help to overcome the politically delicate intricacies of governing for the long term. We theorize the features that can help to solve the problem of temporal commitment in democracy through processual mechanisms and illustrate these with short case studies of the contrasting welfare state reform experiences in the Netherlands and Belgium.


Anton Hemerijck
Anton Hemerijck is Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy.

Kees van Kersbergen
Kees van Kersbergen is Professor of Comparative Politics at the Department of Political Science of Aarhus University, Denmark.

    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.

    In a recent decision, the Labour Court awarded an employee € 7,500 for working in excess of 48 hours a week, contrary to working time legislation. The complainant allegedly regularly checked and responded to emails outside of business hours, occasionally after midnight. The Labour Court reiterated it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees are not permitted to work beyond the statutory maximum period and that if an employer is aware that an employee is working excessive hours, must take steps to curtail this.


Lucy O’Neill
Lucy O’Neill is an attorney-at-law at Mason Hayes & Curran in Dublin, Ireland.
Case Reports

2018/32 When is travelling time working time? (NO)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2018
Keywords Working time
Authors Marianne Jenum Hotvedt and Anne-Beth Engan
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Norwegian Supreme Court concludes that time spent on a journey ordered by the employer, to and from a place other than the employee’s fixed or habitual place of work, should be considered working time within the meaning of the statutory provisions implementing the Working Time Directive (2003/88/EC). This ruling takes into account the Advisory Opinion of the EFTA Court.


Marianne Jenum Hotvedt
Marianne Jenum Hotvedt is an associate professor at the Department of Private law, University in Oslo. She got her PhD on the thesis ‘The Employer Concept’.

Anne-Beth Engan
Anne-Beth Engan is a senior associate with the law firm Selmer AS in Oslo.
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.

    The Irish Court of Appeal recently clarified the obligations of employers towards employees with a disability.
    The judgment suggests that an employer is not required to alter the duties of a position held by an employee with a disability in order to accommodate that employee’s return to work if the duties, which the employee is no longer capable of performing, are considered essential to the employee’s position.


Lucy O’Neill
Lucy O’Neill is an attorney at law at Mayson Hayes & Curran.

    The Danish Supreme Court has ruled that the Danish authorities may have incurred liability by failing to act sufficiently quickly to amend the Danish Holiday Act to align it with EU law.


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