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    In its decision rendered on 28 February 2019, the Luxembourg Court of Appeal (Cour d’appel de Luxembourg) examined under which circumstances on-call duty performed at the workplace qualifies as actual working time.
    The issue raised was whether the time spent at night by an employee (i.e. the presence of an employee at the workplace) performing the work of a live-in carer was to be considered as ‘actual working time’.
    The Court expressly referred to EU case law and decided that the concept of actual working time is defined by two criteria, namely (i) whether the employee during such a period must be at the employer’s disposal, and (ii) the interference with the employee’s freedom to choose their activities.
    In view of the working hours provided for in the employment contract and in the absence of evidence proving that the employee would not have been at the employer’s home during her working hours, the Court found that the employee stayed at the employer’s home at night and at the employer’s request. It was irrelevant in this respect whether it was for convenience or not. It was further established that the employee could not leave during the night and return to her home and go about her personal business, so that the hours she worked at night were to be considered as actual working time.
    Given that the employee’s objections regarding her salary were justified (as the conditions of her remuneration violated statutory provisions), the Court decided that the dismissal was unfair.


Michel Molitor
Michel Molitor is the managing partner of MOLITOR Avocats à la Cour SARL in Luxembourg, www.molitorlegal.lu.

    On 22 May 2020, fifty-two members of the Hungarian parliament petitioned the Constitutional Court which was requested to establish the unconstitutionality of Section 6(4) of Government Decree no. 47/2020 (III. 18), its conflict with an international treaty and to annul it with retroactive effect to the date of its entry into force. According to Section 6(4) of the Decree “in a separate agreement, the employee and the employer may depart from the provisions of the Labour Code” (i.e. ‘absolute dispositivity’). The petition, among other things, alleged the violation of equal treatment and the right to rest and leisure. The Constitutional Court rejected the motion to establish the unconstitutionality of Section 6(4) and its annulment, since it was repealed on 18 June 2020. The Constitutional Court may, as a general rule, examine the unconstitutionality of the legislation in force, however it was no longer possible to examine the challenged piece of legislation in the framework of a posterior abstract norm control.


Kristof Toth
Kristof Toth is PhD student at the Karoli Gaspar University in Hungary.
Case Reports

Access_open 2021/13 Equal Treatment Authority’s decision does not bind the court (HU)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Race, Nationality Discrimination, Discrimination General
Authors Zsofia Olah
AbstractAuthor's information

    This case involved an employee who claimed that her two consecutive employers breached the principle of equal treatment during their employment relationships in relation to her belonging to the Roma minority. The employee built her case on the decision of the Equal Treatment Authority, which declared that her employers discriminated against her. The Curia (the highest judicial authority in Hungary) found that the decision of another authority has no binding effect on a court according to Act III of 1952 on Civil Procedure and that in cases concerning equal treatment, the burden of proof lies on the defendant (employer) to prove that there is no link between the disadvantage suffered by the plaintiff (employee) and her protected characteristic. The Curia and regional courts also found that the employer fulfils this obligation if it successfully proves that it assessed the applicant’s qualifications, professional suitability and attitude towards work when it decided on the question of whom to employ.


Zsofia Olah
Zsofia Olah is a partner at OPL Law Firm.

    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.


Claire Toumieux
Claire Toumieux and Susan Ekrami is partner at 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.
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 Federal Labour Court of Germany (Bundesarbeitsgericht, ‘BAG’) had to decide on a case in which an employee claimed vacation entitlements for the release phase of a partial retirement scheme. Because the employee was released from his work obligation during the release phase of the partial retirement under the so-called ‘block model’ he was not entitled to statutory leave so that the lawsuit was unsuccessful in the final instance.


Othmar K. Traber
Othmar K. Traber is a partner at Ahlers & Vogel Rechtsanwälte PartG mbB in Bremen, www.ahlers-vogel.com.

    The Federal Labour Court of Germany (Bundesarbeitsgericht, ‘BAG’) had to decide on a case in which an employee argued that his contract was not terminated by a provision that restricted the mutual duties to a certain time period for the yearly season within his contract and that the employer had to employ him during the off season. However, his lawsuit was unsuccessful as the Court found that, even though he did have an indefinite contract, the employer was not obliged to employ and pay him during the off season due to the valid provision of fixed-term employment for the time from April to October during the time of the season.


Othmar K. Traber
Othmar K. Traber is a partner at Ahlers & Vogel Rechtsanwälte PartG mbB in Bremen, www.ahlers-vogel.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 Austrian Supreme Court has confirmed that an employer must pay compensation to an employee due to a violation of the employee’s privacy. The employer implemented a GPS system in its company cars without the employee’s knowledge and without legal basis.


Lukas Disarò
Lukas Disarò is an Attorney-at-Law at law Firm MMag. Gregor Winkelmayr, MBA, LL.M (Essex).
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.
Case Reports

2020/7 Successive fixed-term employment contracts (RO)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Fixed-term work
Authors Andreea Suciu and Teodora Manaila
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Craiova Court of Appeal has ruled that the continuous extensions of a fixed-term employment based on national provisions is not in accordance with the European jurisprudence. Relying on the findings of ECJ case C-614/15, the Craiova Court of Appeal made an exhaustive analysis of the relying arguments for subsequent extensions of fixed-term employments agreements for long periods of time and the objective reasons behind such use of contracts.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is managing partner at Suciu I The Employment Law Firm, Bucharest, Romania.

Teodora Manaila
Teodora Manaila is an attorney-at-law at Suciu I The Employment Law Firm, Bucharest, Romania.

    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.

    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/).
Case Reports

2019/47 Transfer of undertakings does not include temporary agency workers (AT)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2019
Keywords Transfer of undertakings, Transfer, Employees who transfer/refuse to transfer
Authors Thomas B. Pfalz
AbstractAuthor's information

    In a series of rulings the Austrian Supreme Court has made it clear that temporary agency workers are transferred to the transferee only if they are assigned to the transferor on a permanent basis. According to the Court, the facts of the cases at hand are not comparable to those of the ECJ ruling in Albron Catering BV (C-242/09). Hence the temporary agency workers remain with their original employer. However, some aspects of the Court’s reasoning seem unclear if not contradictory with regard to other recent judgments.


Thomas B. Pfalz
Thomas B. Pfalz is a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Law at the University of Klagenfurt.

    The Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – BAG) has decided that the entitlement to paid annual leave only expires at the end of the calendar year or at the end of a carry-over period if the employer has previously put the employee in a position to take his leave and yet the employee has not taken the leave out of his own free will. The court held that the employer must cooperate in granting the leave. He has to encourage the employee to take his – concrete numbered - leave and inform him accurately and in good time, that the entitlement to paid leave would otherwise expire.


Daniel Zintl
Daniel Zintl is an attorney-at-law with Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

    The Polish Supreme Court has held that a criterion of discrimination may also be a relationship of a social or familial nature that exists in the workplace and whose existence or absence on the part of the employee results in different treatment by the employer.


Marcin Wujczyk
Marcin Wujczyk is an attorney at law at Wardyński & Partners, Poland (https://www.wardynski.com.pl).

    The author discusses the recent ECJ judgments in the cases Egenberger and IR on religious discrimination.


Andrzej Marian Świątkowski
Andrzej Marian Świątkowski, is a Jean Monet Professor of European Labour Law and Social Security, Jesuit University Ignatianum, Krakow, Poland and a member of the EELC Academic Board.

    The decision pronounced by the first instance court related to the right of professional foster parents to request payment in lieu of untaken annual leave based on ECJ case law has been overruled by the Court of Appeal by making reference to a different ECJ ruling.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is the Managing Partner and Gabriela Ion is an associate at Suciu | The Employment Law Firm (https://www.suciu-employmentlaw.ro).

Gabriela Ion
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