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    The Supreme Court (SC) has unanimously decided that drivers engaged by Uber are workers rather than independent contractors. It also decided that drivers are working when they are signed in to the Uber app and ready to work.


Colin Leckey
Colin Leckey is a partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The German Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, ‘BAG’) has ruled that the user of an online platform (‘crowdworker’) who takes on so-called ‘microjobs’ on the basis of a framework agreement concluded with the platform operator (‘crowdsourcer’) can be an employee of the crowdsourcer. This applies in a case where the framework agreement is aimed at a repeated acceptance of such microjobs. The decisive factor is whether the crowdworker performs work that is subject to instructions and is determined by third parties in the context of the actual performance of the contractual relationship. The name of the contract is irrelevant. One assumes an employment relationship if the crowdsourcer controls the collaboration via an online platform operated by them in such a way that the crowdworker cannot freely shape their activity in terms of place, time and content.


Katharina Gorontzi
Katharina Gorontzi, LLM, is a senior associate at Luther lawfirm in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Jana Voigt
Jana Voigt is a senior associate at Luther lawfirm in Dusseldorf, Germany.

    In a recent case, the Danish Supreme Court addressed the question of what constitutes a comparable permanent employee in relation to discrimination against fixed-term employees. The Supreme Court ruled that even though the two groups of fixed-term and permanent singers at the Royal Opera Chorus of the Royal Danish Theatre performed almost the same tasks, their positions were not comparable as the singers’ qualifications and skills were different and, for this reason, the difference in terms and conditions was not discriminatory.


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

    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.

    The UK failed properly to implement EU health and safety law by restricting protection from detriment on health and safety grounds to ‘employees’, the High Court (HC) ruled in a recent case. Such protection should be extended to the broader category of ‘workers’. Importantly, this ruling potentially increases employers’ exposure to Covid-19-related health and safety claims.


Shalina Crossley
Shalina Crossley is Partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that an employee’s right to a guaranteed payment from the Guaranteed Receivables Fund arises only after a court decision for opening of bankruptcy proceedings has been issued and the decision has been published in the Commercial Register with the Registry Agency of the Republic of Bulgaria. Therefore, if this condition is not met, the employee is not entitled to such payment even if the employer is de facto insolvent.


Kalina Tchakarova
Kalina Tchakarova is a partner at Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov and Velichkov.

    The Austrian Supreme Court has asked preliminary questions about the lawfulness of Section 10(2) of the Austrian Law on Annual Leave which stipulates that an employee is not entitled to an allowance in lieu of annual leave in respect to the current (last) working year if they terminate the employment relationship prematurely without good cause.


Maria Schedle
Maria Schedle is a partner at ENGELBRECHT Rechtsanwalts GmbH.

    On 13 December 2019 the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Court held that a national provision that renders a father’s entitlement to parental benefits during a shared period of leave dependent on the mother’s situation, but not vice versa, fell outside the scope of Directive 2006/54/EC (the Equal Treatment Directive) since it did not concern “employment and working conditions” within the meaning of Article 14(1)(c) of that Directive. The action brought by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) was thus dismissed. The Court consequently did not consider whether the Norwegian rules amounted to unlawful discrimination under the Directive. Furthermore, no assessment was made as to the potential breach with the general principle of equality of gender under EEA law, as this had not been pleaded by ESA.


Jonas Thorsdalen Wik
Jonas Thorsdalen Wik is an attorneys-at-law at Hjort Law Firm (Oslo, Norway).

Dag Sørlie Lund
Dag Sørlie Lund is an attorneys-at-law at Hjort Law Firm (Oslo, Norway).

    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.
Case Reports

2020/38 Supreme Court rules on the principle of continuity of civil service law in connection with a transfer of undertaking (FI)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Transfer of Undertakings, Employees Who Transfer, Dismissal/Severance Payment
Authors Janne Nurminen
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Finnish Supreme Court has overturned a Court of Appeal decision regarding a transfer of a municipal civil servant to a company during the privatization of a public utility company. The Supreme Court held that an employment relationship had not been established between the transferee and the unlawfully dismissed municipal civil servant despite the principle of continuity of civil service law. The concrete actions of the transferee had an important role in defining that no employment relationship had been constituted between the dismissed municipal civil servant and the private company.


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

2020/34 Challenge to validity of Workplace Relations Act 2015 unsuccessful (IR)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Unfair Dismissal, Fair Trial, Miscellaneous
Authors Orla O’Leary
AbstractAuthor's information

    A recent challenge to the constitutionality of the Irish Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has failed. The applicant in the case at hand argued that the WRC was unconstitutional for two reasons: (a) that the WRC carries out the administration of justice in breach of the general constitutional rule that only the courts may administer justice; and (b) several of the statutory procedures of the WRC were so deficient that they failed to vindicate the applicant’s personal constitutional rights. The High Court of Ireland dismissed both arguments.


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

    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that, while it is for national courts to make decisions about employment status, a courier working for Yodel in the UK appeared to have been correctly classified as self-employed, given the latitude he had over accepting jobs, working for competitors, providing substitutes and deciding his work schedule. The crucial factors were independence and subordination.


Colin Leckey
Colin Leckey is a Partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    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.

    On 3 October 2019, in case C-274/18 (Schuch-Ghannadan), the ECJ held that a national regulation, which provides for different maximum total durations of successive fixed-term employment contracts for part-time workers on the one hand and full-time workers on the other, could result in a discrimination of part-time workers and an indirect discrimination of women.


Ines Kager
Mag. Ines Kager is teaching and research assistant at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.

    While it is not strictly necessary to actually work in order to acquire leave entitlement under German law, the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – BAG) has ruled that during a sabbatical (unpaid special leave) the employee does not gain any entitlement to paid annual leave.


Fabian Huber
Fabian Huber is an attorney-at-law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbh
Case Reports

2020/8 Right of temporary workers to the same pay for the same work (LT)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Temporary agency work, Other forms of discrimination
Authors Vida Petrylaitė
AbstractAuthor's information

    On 20 June 2019, Vilnius Regional Court in Lithuania (instance of appeal) delivered a decision in a case where the applicants claimed that a temporary employment agency, UAB Manpower Lit (the ‘Agency’), which recruited temporary workers (‘claimants’) for the European Institute for Gender Equality (‘EIGE’), paid them lower salaries than permanent staff. It was ruled that the Agency had discriminated against these workers by paying them lower salaries than they would have received if they had been recruited directly by EIGE. The Court also ordered the payment of pay arrears for a certain period to the temporary staff.


Vida Petrylaitė
Vida Petrylaitė is an associate professor at Vilnius University.

    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.

    The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia has ruled that provisions of the Law on Higher Education Institutions stipulating that professors and associate professors are elected to the office for a fixed period of time, i.e. for six years, and that only fixed-term employment contracts are to be concluded with them are not compatible with the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia (Latvijas Republikas Satversme) (the ‘Constitution’), which among other things provides that everyone has the right to freely choose their employment and workplace according to their abilities and qualifications. The restriction of this right in this case cannot be regarded as proportionate since the legislator has failed to implement the requirements of the Fixed-term Work Directive 99/70/EC.


Andis Burkevics
Andis Burkevics is a counsel with SORAINEN.
Case Reports

2019/51 Stand-by time from home is paid working time (RO)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2019
Keywords Working time
Authors Andreea Suciu and Gabriela Ion
AbstractAuthor's information

    Stand-by time from home represents working time of medical personnel even for the periods when no medical activity was actually performed (no attendance at the hospital was required), the salary rights for such period being determined as a percentage of the hourly rate for the basic salary and the number of hours when stand-by time from home was performed.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is the Managing Partner of Suciu I The Employment Law Firm (https://suciu-employmentlaw.ro/).

Gabriela Ion
Gabriela Ion is an associate with Suciu I The Employment Law Firm (https://suciu-employmentlaw.ro/).
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