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    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 German law, every employee is entitled to paid annual leave. The amount of pay is generally calculated based on the current salary (known as the “principle of loss of pay”) but a reduction of working hours during the year does not lead to a reduction of entitlement to holiday pay for previously acquired holiday entitlements. If the entitlement was already acquired before the reduction of working time (which can happen because in Germany holiday entitlement is acquired at the beginning of the calendar year), pay during leave will be based on the salary agreed between the employer and employee when the holiday entitlement was acquired and thus, based on the ‘old’ salary.


Nina Stephan
Nina-Stephan is an attorney-at-law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH in Essen, www.luther-lawfirm.com.

Paul Schreiner
Paul Schreiner is an attorney-at-law and partner with Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH in Essen, www.luther-lawfirm.com.

    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.

    Following the ECJ’s decision in Somoza Hermo – v – Ilunion Seguridad, C-60/17 (Somoza Hermo) of 11 July 2018, all eyes were on the Spanish Supreme Court. Since 2016, the Court has ruled a number of times that limitations to the liability of the new contractor established in a collective bargaining agreement (‘CBA’) in the context of a CBA-led transfer were valid (see e.g. EELC 2018/21). Somoza Hermo established that a CBA-led transfer that entails a non-asset-based transfer is a transfer within the meaning of the Acquired Rights Directive. Now the Supreme Court (in a decision dated 27 September 2018 taken with one dissenting opinion) is clear that its doctrine must be reviewed and has therefore held that limitations on pre-transfer liability for a new contractor under a CBA-led transfer that trigger a non-asset-based transfer, are not valid.


Luis Aguilar
Luis Aguilar is an attorney-at-law at Eversheds Sutherland in Madrid, Spain and associate professor of Employment Law at IE University in Madrid, Spain.

    The Austrian Supreme Court has held that the employer must notify the Employment Service (AMS) when it is contemplating collective redundancies, even if they are carried by mutual agreement. The duty of notification is triggered if the employer proposes a mutual termination agreement to a relevant number of employees, provided the offer is binding and can be accepted by the employees within 30 days. If the employer fails to notify the AMS, any subsequent redundancies (or mutual terminations of employment occurring on the employer’s initiative) are void, even if effected after 30 days.


Andreas Tinhofer
Andreas Tinhofer is a partner at MOSATI Rechtsanwälte, www.mosati.at.

    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.

    The German Federal Labour Court has held that it was justifiable for the employment of an actor to be limited in time because of the “type of work” involved and the fact that the work was with a film production company, even though the actor was given a number of fixed term employment contracts over around 18 years.


Paul Schreiner
Paul Schreiner is an attorney-at-law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

Jana Voigt
Jana Voigt is an attorney-at-law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.
Case Reports

2018/13 Discrimination based on perceived disability found unlawful (UK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2018
Keywords Disability discrimination, Other forms of discrimination
Authors Sam Minshall
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’) has confirmed that, even if an employee is not actually disabled for the purpose of the relevant statutory test, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against that employee because of a perceived disability.


Sam Minshall
Sam Minshall is an associate solicitor at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The German federal court for labour law matters, the Bundesarbeitsgericht (the ‘BAG’), has held that evidence cannot be used in a dismissal lawsuit if the employer has obtained it from long-term surveillance using keylogger-software. Employers must not keep their employees under constant surveillance and must therefore expect their legal position to be weak if they try to dismiss an employee based on findings from such monitoring. The court ruling preceded the ECtHR Barbulescu ruling of 5 September 2017 (featured in EELC 2017/4) in a similar case.


Paul Schreiner
Paul Schreiner is an attorney at law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

    An acquired mother tongue is – at least indirectly – connected to a person’s origin and therefore also linked to ethnic origin. Claims based on the German General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz, the ‘AGG’) must be brought in writing within two months after knowledge of a possible discrimination. Time only starts to run for claims after the employer has provided an unsuccessful job applicant with a clear and definite statement that he or she has been rejected. The limitation period under the AGG will not be triggered by lapse of time only.


Paul Schreiner
Paul Schreiner is an attorney at law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

Jana Voigt
Jana Voigt is an attorney at law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

    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.

    A recent decision by the Labour Court found that a policy requiring employees to speak English in the workplace constituted discrimination on grounds of national origin but was objectively justifiable.


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

2017/31 Lawful positive discrimination in favour of women (FR)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2017
Keywords Discrimination (other), Positive discrimination
Authors Claire Toumieux and Susan Ekrami
AbstractAuthor's information

    Company agreement provisions granting a half-day of leave to female employees on International Women’s Day constitute lawful positive discrimination in favour of women.


Claire Toumieux
Claire Toumieux is a partner with Allen & Overy LLP in Paris (www.allenovery.com).

Susan Ekrami
Susan Ekrami is a senior associate with Allen & Overy LLP in Paris (www.allenovery.com).

    The period within which an employee can file a claim under the Regulations entitled “Contracts of Service for a Fixed Term” (which are Subsidiary Legislation under Maltese law) starts from when the employee became subject to less favourable treatment and not from when the employee could have known that the Regulations were being breached.


Matthew Brincat
Matthew Brincat is a partner with GANADO Advocates.

    Unlawful discrimination cannot be found even for morbid obesity under the German Equal Treatment Act.


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

    Following consultations with its employees in accordance with the Finnish Codetermination Act (334/2007), a company informed the employees that it would close down its current office premises and move its operations, including all of its employees, to another location. An employee, whose employment contract expressly stipulated the location of the old office as the fixed place of work, refused to transfer and did not arrive at the new place of work after the transfer. The company considered the employee’s absence unjustified and terminated her employment with immediate effect. The Supreme Court held that an employer can, as an alternative to termination of employment, unilaterally amend material terms of employment provided it notifies the employees sufficiently clearly of the terms being amended, the time when the new terms would come into effect, the grounds for termination, and the consequences of not accepting the amendments.


Kaj Swanljung
Kaj Swanljung and Janne Nurminen are respectively a Senior Counsel and a Senior Associate with Roschier in Helsinki, www.roschier.com.

Janne Nurminen

    A claim for compensation for discrimination was not excluded simply because the applicant did not have the ‘objective qualifications’ necessary for the job. According to the German General Equal Treatment Act (the ‘Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz’, or ‘AGG’), what is necessary for a compensation claim is a ‘comparable situation’. According to the latest decision of the German Federal Labour Court (the ‘Bundesarbeitsgericht’, or ‘BAG’) this can occur even if the applicant does not fulfill the general requirements to do the job.


Paul Schreiner
Paul Schreiner and Nina Stephan are respectively partner and associate with Luther Rechtsanwaltgesellschaft MbH, www.luther-lawfirm.com.

Nina Stephan
Paul Schreiner and Nina Stephan are respectively partner and associate with Luther Rechtsanwaltgesellschaft MbH, www.luther-lawfirm.com.
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.

    The Curia (Hungarian Supreme Court) stated in its ruling that length of service is not a protected characteristic under discrimination law. Length of employment cannot be considered as a core feature of the individual based on which he or she would belong to a specific group, as it is a result of his or her own actions. It therefore cannot be treated as a ‘miscellaneous’ ground for the purposes of the Hungarian Equal Treatment Act. Further, length of service cannot be linked to age discrimination. The length of service of an employee is not directly connected to age, therefore treatment of an employee based on length of service with a specific organisation cannot be considered age discriminatory.
    A claim based on discrimination must be supported by a comparator. Employees with different educational backgrounds and jobs with different the educational requirements, are not comparable for the purposes of equal treatment law.


Gabriella Ormai
Gabriella Ormai is the managing partner of the Budapest office of CMS Cameron McKenna LLP (www.cms-cmck.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.
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