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Case Law

2022/1 EELC’s review of the year 2021

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2022
Authors Niklas Bruun, Filip Dorssemont, Zef Even e.a.
Abstract

    Various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year.


Niklas Bruun

Filip Dorssemont

Zef Even

Ruben Houweling

Marianne Hrdlicka

Anthony Kerr

Attila Kun

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Daiva Petrylaitė

Luca Ratti

Jan-Pieter Vos

    In a case arising from the sudden collapse of a construction company, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has confirmed the limited scope of the ‘special circumstances’ defence for not consulting on collective redundancies.


David Hopper
David Hopper is a partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.

Kerry Salisbury
Kerry Salisbury is an associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.
Case Reports

Access_open 2022/2 Unions have no veto over employer negotiations with staff (UK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2022
Keywords Collective Agreements
Authors David Hopper and Kerry Salisbury
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Supreme Court has confirmed that recognised trade unions do not have a veto over employers making direct offers to their members to change terms and conditions of employment. Employers must, however, follow and exhaust the collective bargaining processes with their recognised unions before they may make direct offers with a view to resolving an impasse that has arisen.


David Hopper
David Hopper is a partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.

Kerry Salisbury
Kerry Salisbury is an associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The Federal Labour Court of Germany has continued to specify the requirements for the legality of age limits in employer-funded pension plans under German law. In this case, according to the Court, the employer could impose a maximum age of 55 as a requirement of entry to the company pension plan.


Othmar K. Traber
Othmar Traber is a partner at Ahlers & Vogel, Bremen.
Case Reports

2022/7 Dismissal for violation of Covid-19 quarantine order (AT)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2022
Keywords Unfair dismissal
Authors Andreas Tinhofer and Isabella Göschl
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Supreme Court has decided that the summary dismissal of an employee for violating a Covid-19 quarantine order by appearing at work is effective and justified.


Andreas Tinhofer
Andreas Tinhofer is a partner at ZFZ Zeiler Rechtsanwälte GmbH.

Isabella Göschl
Isabella Göschl is a junior associate at ZFZ Zeiler Rechtsanwälte GmbH.

    On 1 December 2021, just prior to the transposition deadline for Directive (EU) 2019/1937 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law (the ‘Whistleblowing Directive’), the Irish Supreme Court delivered a judgment that may have an impact on the Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Bill, the piece of legislation intended to be enacted in order to comply with the Whistleblowing Directive. The judgment noted that, while the Oireachtas (the Irish parliament) had envisaged that most complaints for which whistleblower protection would be sought would concern matters of public interest, the actual definition of ‘protected disclosure’ in the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (the ‘2014 Act’) extends further than that and can cover complaints in the context of employment which are personal to the reporting person. While Ireland has missed the deadline and has yet to enact the Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Bill, one of the intended amendments has been changed since this judgment was delivered.


Sarah O’Mahoney
Sarah O’Mahoney is a General Knowledge Lawyer at Mason, Hayes & Curran, Dublin.

    The Iaşi Court of Appeal in Romania has upheld a decision issued by the Vaslui Tribunal which found that an employee cannot be the subject of disciplinary action for the refusal to perform work during their weekly rest notwithstanding that a working time schedule imposed by the employer was based on the applicability of an internal company policy.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea is Managing Partner of Suciu | The Employment Law Firm

Andreea Oprea
Andreea is an attorney-at-law at Suciu | The Employment Law Firm.

    Working as a rider for the Deliveroo platform is a professional activity that can be performed as a self-employed worker, the Labour Tribunal of Brussels has decided, which also ruled out the possibility of Deliveroo riders enjoying the fiscally beneficial status available for workers active on electronic platforms of the collaborative economy (or ‘sharing economy’).


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

2022/8 Port Labour Act not in conflict with the Belgian Constitution (BE)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2022
Keywords Free Movement, Work and Residence Permit
Authors Heleen Franco and Julien Hick
AbstractAuthor's information

    In its judgment of 25 November 2021, the Belgian Constitutional Court has upheld the obligation to call on recognised dock workers for the activity consisting of preparing trailers on a dock for shipment with a vehicle specifically intended for that purpose (known as a ‘tugmaster tractor’). The obligation to rely solely on recognised dock workers for the performance of port work is justified, among other things, by the need to improve safety in port areas and to prevent accidents at work. The identical treatment of, on the one hand, the loading and unloading of ships in the strict sense and, on the other hand, the activity of preparing trailers on a dock for shipment with a tugmaster tractor, does not breach the principle of equality and non-discrimination. Therefore, equal treatment of both types of port labour, with regard to the obligation to call on recognised dock workers, is reasonably justified.


Heleen Franco
Heleen Franco is a senior associate at AKD, Brussels.

Julien Hick
Julien Hick is a partner at AKD, Brussels.

    Western Australia is experiencing high rates of recidivism among Aboriginal offenders. This challenge can be partly addressed by delivering culturally relevant programming. Its dearth, however, suggests two questions: what is culturally fit in the context of the prison, and how might such programming be constructed? This article responds to these questions by focusing on one element of culture, ‘values’, that is influential ideas that determine desirable courses of action in a culture. Firstly, a review of the literature and comparative analysis is given to the respective key values of Aboriginal culture and European and Anglo-Australian cultures. It also highlights the importance of repairing Aboriginal values with implications for providing culturally relevant prison programming. Secondly, a report is given on how an in-prison Aboriginal restorative justice programme (AIPRJP) was co-designed by Noongar Elders and prisoners and me, an Anglo-Australian restorativist. Using an ethnographic approach, the project identified a set of Aboriginal values for addressing the harms resulting from historical manifestations of wrongdoing by settler colonialism and contemporary crimes of Aboriginal offenders. Brief commentary is then given to the delivery of the AIPRJP, followed by a summary of findings and recommendations for using culturally relevant programming.


Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is Adjunct Research Fellow at School of Population and Global Health, The University of Western Australia, Australia. Corresponding author: Jane Anderson at jane.a@westnet.com.au. Acknowledgements: I extend my appreciation to the Noongar Elders and prisoners of the South West of Western Australia who co-designed the AIPRJP. My thanks go to the prison superintendent and staff for supporting the initiative. I am grateful to the peer reviewers for their constructive criticism which has led to substantial improvements to this article.
Article

Access_open Evaluative Mediation (Part II), Deployment

How to Deploy Evaluative Mediation?

Journal Corporate Mediation Journal, Issue 2 2021
Keywords evaluative mediation, deployment, hybrids
Authors Martin Brink
AbstractAuthor's information

    Part II of this article addresses the question of how evaluative mediation may be used in practice. What guidelines are available to a mediator who considers crossing the line between facilitation and evaluation?


Martin Brink
Martin Brink PhD is Editor in Chief of this Journal, mediator and arbitrator at Utrecht and The Hague, The Netherlands.
Article

The Use of Technology (and Other Measures) to Increase Court Capacity

A View from Australia

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2021
Keywords court capacity, COVID-19, Australia, online dispute resolution, open justice, procedural fairness, access to justice, online courts, justice technology, judicial function
Authors Felicity Bell, Michael Legg, Joe McIntyre e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The COVID-19 pandemic has forced courts around the world to embrace technology and other innovative measures in order to continue functioning. This article explores how Australian courts have approached this challenge. We show how adaptations in response to the pandemic have sometimes been in tension with principles of open justice, procedural fairness and access to justice, and consider how courts have attempted to resolve that tension.


Felicity Bell
Felicity Bell is a Research Fellow for the Law Society of NSW’s Future of Law and Innovation in the Profession (FLIP) research stream at UNSW Law, Sydney.

Michael Legg
Michael Legg is Professor and Director of the FLIP stream at UNSW Law, Sydney.

Joe McIntyre
Joe McIntyre is a Senior Lecturer in Law at UniSA: Justice and Society, University of South Australia.

Anna Olijnyk
Anna Olijnyk is a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Public Law and Policy Research Unit at Adelaide Law School, University of Adelaide, South Australia.
Article

Access_open International Perspectives on Online Dispute Resolution in the E-Commerce Landscape

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2021
Keywords online dispute resolution (ODR), e-commerce, international dispute resolution, international law, United States, China, European Union, Australia, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), online platforms
Authors Teresa Ballesteros
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article will examine Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) from several perspectives to provide a comprehensive understanding of the global efforts to incorporate ODR in the e-commerce scope. Upon examining the nature and growth of both e-commercial activities and ODR, there will be an analysis from an international standpoint, where the article will discuss the relevant bodies and the progression of uniform standards in this regard. This is followed by an analysis of several jurisdictions, namely the United States, China, European Union and Australia. Finally, the essay will provide suggestions andrecommendations for the implementation of ODR.


Teresa Ballesteros
Teresa Ballesteros is a BCom/LLB student at the University of Sydney.
Article

Online Mediation and e-commerce (B2B and B2C) Disputes

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2021
Keywords ODR, online Mediation, e-commerce, business-to business (B2B), business-to consumer (B2C)
Authors Mariam Skhulukhia
AbstractAuthor's information

    Nowadays, electronic commerce plays a significant role in our society as internet transactions continue to grow in the business industry. Electronic commerce mainly refers to commercial transactions, such as business-to-business and business-to-consumer. Disputes are inevitable, part of our lives. Simultaneously by developing technology the need for an effective dispute resolution was obvious. Information communication technology and alternative dispute resolution together created online dispute resolution. Businesses and consumers are actively engaged in online dispute resolution. Therefore, the use of the internet makes business or consumer transactions easier. The online environment is much flexible when it comes to electronic commerce. This article focuses on online mediation, one of the most popular forms of online dispute resolution.


Mariam Skhulukhia
Mariam Skhulukhia has a Bachelor’s degree in law and a Master’s degree in International Business law from the University of Georgia. She participated in the Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition (CDRC VIENNA) in 2018 and the John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition in 2019. Mariam was an intern at Tbilisi City Court in Civil Affairs Board. Also, she worked as a lawyer for residency and citizenship matters at a foreign company. She has successfully passed a Bar Exam (Civil Law Specialization) in 2021. Mariam wrote her Master’s thesis: “Why do we need Online Mediation? Possible Challenges and Perspectives for Online Commercial Mediation in Georgia.” She also submitted her Research Paper titled “Mediating Online: Among the Praises and Diatribes in MediateGuru’s edited book titled “A Pathway to the Future of ADR: Comparative Perspectives around the World.”
Article

AI in the Legal Profession

Teaching Robot Mediators Human Empathy

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2021
Keywords ADR, AI, ML, mediation, digital technology, value alignment
Authors Linda Mochon Senado
AbstractAuthor's information

    What benefits do AI technologies introduce to the law and how can lawyers integrate AI tools into their everyday practice and dispute resolution? Can we teach robot mediators to understand human empathy and values to conduct a successful mediation? While the future of AI in the legal profession remains somewhat unknown, it is evident that it introduces valuable tools that enhance legal practice and support lawyers to better serve their clients. This paper discusses the practical ways in which AI is used in the legal profession, while exploring some of the major concerns and hesitation over value alignment, morality and legal formalism.


Linda Mochon Senado
Linda Mochon Senado is a J.D. student at Osgoode Hall Law School. Research Assistant for the Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution. Caseworker and Certified Community Mediator with the Osgoode Mediation Clinic.
Article

Access_open Living with Others in Pandemics

The State’s Duty to Protect, Individual Responsibility and Solidarity

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, The state’s duty to protect, Duty to rescue, Responsibility, Solidarity
Authors Konstantinos A Papageorgiou
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article discusses a range of important normative questions raised by anti-COVID-19 measures and policies. Do governments have the right to impose such severe restrictions on individual freedom and furthermore do citizens have obligations vis-à-vis the state, others and themselves to accept such restrictions? I will argue that a democratic state may legitimately enforce publicly discussed, properly enacted and constitutionally tested laws and policies in order to protect its citizens from risks to life and limb. Even so, there is a natural limit, factual and normative, to what the state or a government can do in this respect. Citizens will also need to take it upon themselves not to harm and to protect others and in the context of a pandemic this means that endorsement of restrictions or other mandatory measures, notably vaccination, is not to be seen as a matter of personal preference concerning the supposedly inviolable sovereignty of one’s own body.


Konstantinos A Papageorgiou
Konstantinos A Papageorgiou is Professor of the Philosophy of Law at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Law.
Article

Access_open What Solidarity?

A Look Behind the Veil of Solidarity in ‘Corona Times’ Contractual Relations

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Mechanical solidarity, Organic solidarity, Contract, Good faith, Punishment
Authors Candida Leone
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article uses three prominent examples from the Dutch context to problematize the relationship between contractual and social solidarity during the coronavirus crisis. The social science ideal types of ‘mechanical’ and ‘organic’ solidarity, and their typified correspondence with legal modes of punishment and compensation, are used to illuminate the way in which solidarity language in private relationships can convey and normalize assumptions about the public interest and economic order.


Candida Leone
Candida Leone is Assistant Professor at the, Amsterdam Centre for Transformative Private Law.
Article

Access_open Suffering from Vulnerability

On the Relation Between Law, Contingency and Solidarity

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Vulnerability, Contingency, Freedom and Anxiety, Solidarity, Legal concept of inclusion
Authors Benno Zabel
AbstractAuthor's information

    The COVID-19 crisis has produced or amplified disruptive processes in societies. This article wants to argue for the fact that we understand the meaning of the COVID-19 crisis only if we relate it to the fundamental vulnerability of modern life and the awareness of vulnerability of whole societies. Vulnerability in modernity are expressions of a reality of freedom that is to some extent considered contingent and therefore unsecured. It is true that law is understood today as the protective power of freedom. The thesis of the article, however, boils down to the fact that the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a new way of thinking about the protection of freedom. This also means that the principle of solidarity must be assigned a new social role. Individual and societal vulnerability refer thereafter to an interconnectedness, dependency, and a future perspective of freedom margins that, in addition to the moral one, can also indicate a need for legal protection. In this respect, law has not only a function of delimitation, but also one of inclusion.


Benno Zabel
Benno Zabel is Professor of Criminal Law and Philosophy of Law at the University of Bonn.

    This comparative study looks into the proposed “vaccine passport” initiative from various human rights aspects. It was undertaken by the Global Digital Human Rights Network, an action started under the EU’s Cooperation in Science and Technology programme. The network currently unites more than 80 scholars and practitioners from 40 countries. The findings are based on responses to questions put to the network members by the authors of this study in February 2021.


Mart Susi
Mart Susi is Professor of Human Rights Law at Tallinn University, Editor-in-Chief, Action Chair of Global Digital Human Rights Network.

Tiina Pajuste
Tiina Pajuste is Professor of International Law and Security at Tallinn University.

    This study explores the spread of disinformation relating to the Covid-19 pandemic on the internet, dubbed by some as the pandemic’s accompanying “infodemic”, and the societal reactions to this development across different countries and platforms. The study’s focus is on the role of states and platforms in combatting online disinformation.
    Through synthesizing answers to questions submitted by more than 40 researchers from 20 countries within the GDHR Network, this exploratory study provides a first overview of how states and platforms have dealt with Corona-related disinformation. This can also provide incentives for further rigorous studies of disinformation governance standards and their impact across different socio-cultural environments.
    Regarding the platforms’ willingness and efficacy in removing (presumed) disinformation, a majority of submissions identifies a shift towards more intervention in pandemic times. Most submitters assess that this shift is widely welcomed in their respective countries and more often considered as taking place too slowly (rather than being perceived as entailing dangers for unjustified restrictions of freedom of expression). The picture is less clear when it comes to enforcing non-speech related infection prevention measures.
    While the dominant platforms have been able to defend, or even solidify, their position during the pandemic, communicative practices on those platforms are changing. For officials, this includes an increasing reliance on platforms, especially social networks, for communicating infection prevention rules and recommendations. For civil society, the pandemic has brought an increasing readiness – and perceived need – to intervene against disinformation, especially through fact-checking initiatives.
    National and local contexts show great variance at whether platform-driven disinformation is conceived as a societal problem. In countries where official sources are distrusted and/or seen as disseminating disinformation criticism against private information governance by platforms remains muted. In countries where official sources are trusted disinformation present on platforms is seen more negatively.
    While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram play important roles in the pandemic communication environment, some replies point towards an increasing importance of messaging apps for the circulation of Covid-19-related disinformation. These apps, like Telegram or WhatsApp, tend to fall under the radar of researchers, because visibility of content is limited and scraping is difficult, and because they are not covered by Network Enforcement Act-type laws that usually exclude one-to-one communication platforms (even if they offer one-to-many channels).
    Vis-à-vis widespread calls for a (re)territorialization of their content governance standards and processes amid the pandemic, platform companies have maintained, by and large, global standards. Standardized, featured sections for national (health) authorities to distribute official information via platforms are exceptions thereto.


Matthias C. Kettemann
Prof. dr. Matthias C. Kettemann, LL.M. (Harvard) is head of the research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces” at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut.

Martin Fertmann
Martin Fertmann is a PhD student at the Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut’s research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces”.
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