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    In the context of collective redundancies the term ‘establishment’ (Betrieb) must be interpreted in compliance with the Collective Redundancies Directive 98/59/EC (the ‘Directive’). The early warning mechanism of Section 45a of the Austrian Labour Market Promotion Act (Arbeitsmarktförderungsgesetz, ‘AMFG’) is only triggered if the number of the planned redundancies reaches a relevant threshold in an establishment. In the present case the stores in question were qualified as separate establishments within the meaning of Section 45a AMFG.


Andreas Tinhofer
Andreas Tinhofer is a partner at Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich.

Markus Blatnig
Markus Blatnig is an associate at Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich.

    The Vaslui Tribunal has recently annulled an individual dismissal decision issued during the state of alert in Romania due to formalities which had not been observed by the employer. While the judge invested with determining the matter limited their analysis to the elements contained in the individual dismissal decision, the judicial assistant ascertained, within a competing opinion, that the dismissal decision should have been annulled for other reasons, namely for the fact that, in reality, the employer had implemented a collective redundancy process without observing the procedure and employees’ rights in the event of such dismissal. Relying on the provisions of Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies, the judicial assistant has made an exhaustive analysis of the conditions required for the existence of a collective dismissal.
    While the competing opinion does not have the same effect as a court ruling, it is part of the judicial procedure and, from this perspective, the independence and impartiality of all the members of the court and their obedience solely to the law is maintained.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is Managing Partner of Suciu I The Employment Law Firm.

Andreea Serban
Andreea Serban is an attorney-at-law at Suciu I The Employment Law Firm.
Case Reports

2021/9 AGET Iraklis: another belated victory for the employer (GR)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Information & Consultation, Collective Redundancies
Authors Effie Mitsopoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Supreme Court of Greece has clarified that the validity of terminations is not affected by the lack of consultation with the employees’ representatives, as per Directive 2002/14/EC on a general framework for informing and consulting employees. In case of non-compliance with such obligation, alternative administrative or judicial measures can be provided by the Member States. It further reiterated that the expediency and necessity of the company’s business decision to suddenly interrupt its plant operation cannot be subject to judicial control.


Effie Mitsopoulou
Effie Mitsopoulou is an attorney-at-law at Effie Mitsopoulou Law Office.

    This case involved an employee who claimed that he was unfairly dismissed for using a trade union to bring a grievance over measures his employer had taken on account of the coronavirus pandemic. The Employment Tribunal (ET) found that he was likely to be able to show at the full hearing of the case that this was an automatically unfair dismissal on grounds of his trade union membership or activities. It awarded the remedy of ‘interim relief’, ordering the employer immediately to reinstate him pending the full trial of the matter. The ET’s decision might signal a potential rise in claims for interim relief in future cases.


David Hopper
David Hopper is a Managing Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.
Case Reports

2020/18 Prohibition of dismissal of pregnant employee (RO)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Gender discrimination
Authors Andreea Suciu and Teodora Mănăilă
AbstractAuthor's information

    Analysing the national legal framework in relation to the protection of pregnant employees and employees who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding, provisions which transposed the regulations of Directive 92/85/EEC and of the conclusions in case C-103/16, Jessica Porras Guisado – v – Bankia S.A. and Others, the Constitutional Court of Romania ascertained that the dismissal prohibition of a pregnant employee is strictly restricted to reasons that have a direct connection with the employee’s pregnancy status. As for other cases where the termination of the employment contract is the result of disciplinary misconduct, unexcused absence from work, non-observance of labour discipline, or termination of employment for economic reasons or collective redundancies, the employer must submit in writing well-reasoned grounds for dismissal.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is Managing Partner and attorney-at-law at Suciu | The Employment Law Firm, Bucharest, Romania.

Teodora Mănăilă
Teodora Mănăilă is Managing Partner and attorney-at-law at Suciu | The Employment Law Firm, Bucharest, Romania.

    The notice of collective redundancies required to be given to an employment agency pursuant to Section 17(1) of the German Protection Against Unfair Dismissal Act (Kündigungsschutzgesetz, ‘KSchG’) can only be effectively submitted if the employer has already decided to terminate the employment contract at the time of its receipt by the employment agency. Notices of termination in collective redundancy proceedings are therefore effective – subject to the fulfilment of any other notice requirements – if the proper notice is received by the competent employment agency before the employee has received the letter of termination.


Marcus Bertz
Marcus Bertz is an attorney-at-law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

    The High Court (HC) dismissed an application by an employer for an interim injunction to prevent strike action organised by two trade unions, who were demanding parity of treatment for their members as compared to members of another union. It was more likely than not that the two unions would succeed in establishing, at the full trial of the matter, that the statutory protection under UK law for industrial action applied.


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

    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 2017, the ECJ delivered its judgment in the Socha case (C-149/16). This judgment, about the Collective Redundancy Directive (98/59/EC), highlights the contradictions between the Directive and Polish law and demonstrates some of consequences such a judgment can lead to.


Andrzej Marian Swiatkowski
Andrzej Marian Swiatkowski is a Professor of European Labor Law and Social Security, Jesuit University Ignatianum, Krakow, Poland.
Case Reports

2018/6 Dismissals anticipating a transfer of undertaking validated (HU)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Dismissal/severance payment, Transfer of undertaking
Authors Gabriella Ormai
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Hungarian Supreme Court has held that within the context of the transfer of an undertaking, the transferee can terminate employment relationships immediately after the transfer for operational reasons and can commence preparations to that effect before the transfer.


Gabriella Ormai
Gabriella Ormai is a managing partner with Ormai és Társai CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP Ügyvédi Iroda in Budapest, https://cms.law/en/HUN/Office/Budapest.

    The Polish Supreme Court has recently confirmed that the collective dismissal procedure should also cover cases where the employment relationship is terminated as a result of the termination of conditions of work or pay.


Marcin Wujczyk Ph.D.
Marcin Wujczyk, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the Jagiellonian University and an attorney with Ksiazek & Bigaj Law Firm, www.ksiazeklegal.pl.

    On 10 January 2017, the Labour Court of Mons ruled that in the case of a collective dismissal, an employer may use absenteeism measured by the Bradford factor as a criterion for selecting employees for redundancy, without breaching anti-discrimination law.


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

2017/12 Court of Appeal rejects argument that Christmas strikes are unlawful under EU law (UK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Collective labour law, industrial actions, unions
Authors Vince Toman and David Hopper
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Court of Appeal has confirmed that industrial action called with the object or purpose of infringing the cross-border freedom to establish and receive services would be unlawful. It rejected the argument that industrial action would be unlawful if it made it unattractive for foreign companies to operate in the UK or if cross-border services might potentially be disrupted. These wider tests would be inconsistent with European case law on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’) and would be incompatible with proper protection of the right to strike.


Vince Toman

David Hopper
Vince Toman and David Hopper are respectively Head of the Trade Union and Collective Employment Law Group and Senior Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    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 Spanish Supreme Court decision issued on 17 October 2016 (no. 848/2016) declares employee terminations void because the employer failed to respect the proper collective redundancy procedures based on the thresholds provided by EU Directive 98/59. The thresholds in the Directive refer to the number of employees at the establishment, whereas thresholds under Spanish law refer to the whole company. In implementing the Directive, Spanish law had aimed at being more favourable to employees, but this did not happen on the facts of this case.


Sonia Cortés
Sonia Cortés is a partner with Abdón Pedrajas & Molero, www.abdonpedrajas.com.

    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).
Case Reports

2016/55 New Supreme Court decision on the distinction between independent contractors and employees (NO)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Independent contractors, Employees
Authors Marianne Jenum Hotvedt and Anne-Beth Engan
AbstractAuthor's information

    EU employment protection is usually limited to “employees”, meaning that independent contractors are not covered. However, EU law often leaves it to Member States to determine the meaning of employee. The directives regulating transfers of undertakings, collective redundancies, written working conditions, information and consultation, part-time work, temporary agency workers etc. are all examples of protection covering only ‘employees’ as defined by each Member State.
    Consequently, the interpretation of ‘employee’ at the national level determines whether protection in EU law applies. This case report concerns the distinction between an independent contractor and employee. The question was whether a support worker for a child needing extra care and support should be considered as employed by Ålesund municipality. The majority (4-1) found that the support worker was an employee. The case illustrates how the notion of employee in Norwegian law adapts to new ways of organising work and may be of interest in other jurisdictions.


Marianne Jenum Hotvedt
Marianne Jenum Hotvedt is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Private law, University in Oslo. In 2015, she got her Ph.D. on the thesis ‘The Employer Concept’.

Anne-Beth Engan
Anne-Beth Engan is an associate with Advokatfirmaet Selmer DA in Oslo.

    It is possible to make a claim for unlawful discrimination in respect of termination of an employment contract even if no claims has been made for unlawful termination.


Dr. Marcin Wujczyk
Dr. Marcin Wujczyk is attorney-at-law, Associated Professor at Jagiellonian University, specialising in labour law, partner at Ksizek Bigaj Wujczyk.

    Article 60(1)(g) of the Romanian Labour Code does not allow an employer to dismiss trade union leaders for reasons other than disciplinary misconduct or judicial reorganisation, dissolution or bankruptcy of the employer. The Constitutional Court has recently ruled that Article 60(1)(g) is unconstitutional.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is Head of Employment & Pensions with Noerr in Bucharest, www.noerr.com.

    The Supreme Court in this case establishes conditions to be met in order for the member of a Board of Directors to qualify as a self-employed “entrepreneur”. In light of these conditions, Directors must be considered to have the status of “individual contractor”, obligating them to pay increased social security contributions.


Marcin Wujczyk Ph.D.
Marcin Wujczyk, Ph.D., is a partner with Ksiazek & Bigaj in Krakow, www.ksiazeklegal.pl.
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