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    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Court rejected the motion to establish the unconstitutionality of Section 6(4) and its annulment, since it was repealed on 18 June 2020.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.

    In a summary proceeding, the Court of Rotterdam has held that it is not clear whether the Non-Seafarers Work Clause, prohibiting lashing work on board of container ships being carried out by the crew, does indeed contribute to better employment and/or working conditions of seafarers. As a result of which the Clause – at this time – cannot be held to be outside the scope of competition law and the claim for compliance with the provision has been rejected. In the media, unions have stated that they will continue to enforce compliance with the Non-Seafarers Work Clause. It remains to be seen whether a court in main proceedings will reach a similar verdict.


Erick Hagendoorn
Erick Hagendoorn is an attorney-at-law at HerikVerhulst N.V., Rotterdam.

    The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal by one of the UK’s major supermarket chains, overturning a finding that it was vicariously liable for a rogue employee’s deliberate disclosure of payroll data related to some 100,000 co-workers, of whom 10,000 brought a group claim for damages.


Richard Lister
Richard Lister is a Managing Practice Development Lawyer at Lewis Silkin LLP.
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 Federal Labour Court had to decide on a case in which an employee asserted claims for damages against his public employer on account of an overtime regulation which infringed European law. However, because he had failed to comply with the time limits, his 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.
Case Reports

2019/46 Robbery attack: the responsibility of the employer? (SI)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2019
Keywords Health and safety, Miscellaneous
Authors Petra Smolnikar and Romana Ulcar
AbstractAuthor's information

    A worker was performing regular work tasks at their workplace when an attempted robbery took place. The worker suffered serious facial injuries as a result of an assault by one of the robbers and they filed a lawsuit against their employer claiming the latter was fully liable (both objectively and subjectively) for the work accident entitling them to reimbursement of all damages resulting from the accident.
    The question that was raised was whether the employer can be held subjectively liable for an accident at work despite the fact that it had taken the necessary measures foreseen and/or imposed by law to prevent such accidents.


Petra Smolnikar
Petra Smolnikar is the founder and manager at the law firm PETRA SMOLNIKAR LAW, Ljubljana, Slovenia (http://petrasmolnikarlaw.eu).

Romana Ulcar
Romana Ulčar is a legal assistant at PETRA SMOLNIKAR LAW.

    This was a case alleging detrimental treatment for whistleblowing brought by an employee working outside the UK against two co-workers also working abroad in the same location. The Court of Appeal (CA) ruled that there was no jurisdiction for the Employment Tribunal (ET) to hear the claim in relation to personal liability of the co-workers because they were outside the scope of UK employment law. The CA’s judgment potentially has implications for other types of claim brought by UK employees posted abroad where similar personal liability provisions apply, such as discrimination and harassment.


Richard Lister
Richard Lister is a Managing Practice Development Lawyer at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The Luxembourg Court of Appeal (Cour d’appel de Luxembourg) confirmed that an employee dismissed with notice and exempted from performing their work during the notice period is no longer bound by the non-competition duties arising from their loyalty obligation and can therefore engage in an employment contract with a direct competitor of their former employer during that exempted notice period. However, the Court of Appeal decided that, even if the former employee is in principle entitled to use the know-how and knowledge they acquired with their former employer, the poaching of clients during the notice period must, due to the facts and circumstances and in the light of the rules applicable in the financial sector, be considered as an unfair competition act and therefore constitutes serious misconduct justifying the termination of the employment contract with immediate effect.


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

Régis Muller
Régis Muller is partner within the Employment, Pension & Immigration department of MOLITOR Avocats à la Cour SARL in Luxembourg, www.molitorlegal.lu.

    Following an appeal by Uber against the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s (EAT) finding last year, which was featured in EELC 2018/9, that drivers engaged by Uber are ‘workers’ rather than independent contractors (reported in EELC 2018-1), the Court of Appeal (CA) has now upheld the EAT’s decision. The CA also upheld the finding of the Employment Tribunal (ET), which was featured in EELC 2017/10, that drivers are working when they are signed into the Uber app and ready to work (reported in EECL 2017-1). Uber has approximately 40,000 drivers (and about 3.5 million users of its mobile phone application in London alone) and so this decision has potentially significant financial consequences for the company.


Jemma Thomas
Jemma Thomas is a Senior Associate Solicitor at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The Iasi Court of Appeal has held that a request for resignation completed and signed after various forms of pressure from the employee’s superiors does not represent a termination of an individual labour agreement on the initiative of the employee, but a constructive dismissal.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is the managing partner at Suciu | The Employment Law Firm.

    The Czech Supreme Court has ruled that the concept of good moral conduct must be taken into account when assessing whether an employee has breached his or her non-compete obligation and thus whether it is fair to demand that the employee pay a contractual penalty for the breach. The Court annulled the penalty.


Anna Diblíková
Anna Diblíková is an attorney at Noerr in Prague, www.noerr.com.

    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.
Case Reports

2018/9 Uber’s work status appeal rejected (UK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Miscellaneous, Employment status
Authors Laetitia Cooke
AbstractAuthor's information

    Following an appeal by Uber against an employment tribunal (ET) finding last year, which was featured in EELC 2017/10, that its drivers are ‘workers’ and not self-employed contractors (reported in EELC 2017-1), the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has now upheld the ET’s original decision. The EAT rejected Uber’s arguments that it was merely a technology platform, as well as its statement that it did not provide transportation services. This decision is important as it means that Uber drivers are entitled to certain rights under UK law, such as the right to holiday pay, to the national minimum wage (NMW) and protection against detrimental treatment for ‘blowing the whistle’ against malpractice. Uber has approximately 40,000 drivers (and about 3.5 million users of its mobile phone application in London alone) and so this decision has potentially significant financial consequences for the company.


Laetitia Cooke
Laetitia Cooke is an Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The Danish Supreme Court has ruled that the Danish authorities may have incurred liability by failing to act sufficiently quickly to amend the Danish Holiday Act to align it with EU law.


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

    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

    In a much publicised case, Uber drivers have won a first instance employment tribunal finding that they are ‘workers’ and not self-employed contractors. This decision means that they are entitled to basic protections, such as the national minimum wage, paid holiday (under the Working Time Directive) and protection against detriment for ‘blowing the whistle’ on wrong doing. The decision could have substantial financial consequences for Uber, which has around 40,000 drivers in the UK but Uber has already confirmed that it will appeal the decision, so we are unlikely to have a final determination on this question for some time.


Bethan Carney
Bethan Carney is a lawyer at Lewis Silkin LLP: www.lewissilkin.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).

    In one of the first high-profile cases under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (i.e. whistleblowing legislation), two employees have successfully secured an injunction in the Circuit Court which prevents their dismissal.


Lucy O’Neill
Lucy O’Neill is an associate at Mason Hayes & Curan, www.MHC.ie.
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