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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.

    On 16 December 2020, the Supreme Court of Lithuania (Cassation Court) delivered a ruling in a case where an employee claimed that the employer, JSC ‘Lithuanian Railways’, did not apply the regulations of the company’s employer-level collective agreement and did not pay a special bonus – an anniversary benefit (i.e. a benefit paid to employees on reaching a certain age) – because the employee was not a member of the trade union which had signed the collective agreement. According to the employee, she was discriminated against because of her membership of another trade union, i.e membership of the ‘wrong’ trade union.
    The Supreme Court held that combatting discrimination under certain grounds falls within the competence and scope of EU law, but that discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership is not distinguished as a form of discrimination. Also, the Court ruled that in this case (contrary to what the employee claimed in her cassation appeal) Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) is not applicable because it regulates the prohibition of discrimination on other (sex) grounds. Moreover, the Court found that there was no legal basis for relying on the relevant case law of the ECJ which provides clarification on other forms of discrimination, but not on discrimination based on trade union membership.


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


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is Managing Partner at Suciu | The Employment Law Firm in Bucharest, Romania.

Teodora Manaila
Teodora Manaila is a Senior Associate at Suciu | The Employment Law Firm in Bucharest, Romania.

    The dismissal of an employee for gross misconduct was unfair because the investigating officer failed to share significant new information with the manager conducting the disciplinary hearing who decided to dismiss, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled.


Ludivine Gegaden
Ludivine Gegaden is an Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    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 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 Supreme Court found that the Court of Appeal did not properly examine whether the difference of treatment of employees based on a social plan may be justified.


Ioana Cazacu
Ioana Cazacu is Managing Associate with POPOVICI NIŢU STOICA & ASOCIAŢII, Bucharest, Romania.

    The Italian Court of Cassation has interpreted a new provision referring to the obligations of the new service provider towards the employees of the former provider.


Caterina Rucci
Caterina Rucci is founding partner of Katariina’s Gild.

    According to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia (Vrhovno sodišče Republike Slovenije) (Supreme Court), reintegration of a formerly dismissed employee does not mean that the employment relationship had not been terminated earlier. Consequently, the employee is entitled to an allowance in lieu of the untaken leave at the time of the dismissal.


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

    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.
Case Reports

2019/9 The right to object against a transfer in case of incorrect information is not unlimited (GE)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Transfer of undertaking, Employees who transfer/refuse to transfer
Authors Nina Stephan
AbstractAuthor's information

    According to German law, every employee has the right to object to the transfer of their employment relationship to the transferee in the case of a transfer of business. However, the right to object is not unlimited. The Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht (‘BAG’)) held that an employee who had worked for the transferee for seven years had lost this right if they had been informed about the transfer.


Nina Stephan
Nina Stephan is an attorney-at-law at Luther Rechtsanwaltgesellschaft mbH

    In a recent decision, the Labour Court awarded an employee € 7,500 for working in excess of 48 hours a week, contrary to working time legislation. The complainant allegedly regularly checked and responded to emails outside of business hours, occasionally after midnight. The Labour Court reiterated it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees are not permitted to work beyond the statutory maximum period and that if an employer is aware that an employee is working excessive hours, must take steps to curtail this.


Lucy O’Neill
Lucy O’Neill is an attorney-at-law at Mason Hayes & Curran in Dublin, Ireland.
Case Reports

2018/20 Labour Court sets out employers’ equal treatment obligations following the transfer of a business (FI)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2018
Keywords Transfer of undertaking, General discrimination, Terms of employment
Authors Janne Nurminen
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Finnish Labour Court recently decided a case about the transfer of a business and the associated obligation to harmonise employees’ salaries. The Court held that the employer had not shown good reasons for continuing to pay different salaries to employees with equivalent responsibilities long after the transfer.


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

2018/7 ‘Ryanair’ after ‘Ryanair’: Crew member still left empty-handed? (NL)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Private international law, Competency, Applicable law
Authors Amber Zwanenburg
AbstractAuthor's information

    A Dutch first instance court applies the recent ECJ Ryanair ruling (C-168/16 and C-169/16) in another Ryanair private international law dispute. Even though the Dutch court accepted jurisdiction, it applied Irish law to the employees’ unfair termination claim.


Amber Zwanenburg
Amber Zwanenburg is a lecturer in labour law at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam.
Case Reports

2018/8 Insourcing of fitness services by hotel constitutes a transfer of undertaking (IT)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Transfer of undertaking, Transfer
Authors Caterina Rucci and Alessandro De Giobbi
AbstractAuthor's information

    A change of service provider may amount to the transfer of an undertaking. While this should not be surprising in itself, the authors discuss recent changes in Italian law in this case report.


Caterina Rucci
Caterina Rucci is an attorney at law at Fieldfisher.

Alessandro De Giobbi
Alessandro De Giobbi is an attorney at law at Fieldfisher.

    The German federal court for labour law matters, the Bundesarbeitsgericht (the ‘BAG’), has held that evidence cannot be used in a dismissal lawsuit if the employer has obtained it from long-term surveillance using keylogger-software. Employers must not keep their employees under constant surveillance and must therefore expect their legal position to be weak if they try to dismiss an employee based on findings from such monitoring. The court ruling preceded the ECtHR Barbulescu ruling of 5 September 2017 (featured in EELC 2017/4) in a similar case.


Paul Schreiner
Paul Schreiner is an attorney at law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has adopted a new approach to the burden of proof in discrimination cases. Up to now, the courts have held that the claimant must, in the first instance, prove sufficient facts from which (in the absence of any other explanation) an inference of discrimination can be drawn. Once the claimant has established these facts, the burden of proof shifts to the respondent to show that he or she did not breach the provisions of the Act. The EAT has now said that courts should consider all of the evidence (both the claimant’s and the respondent’s) when making its finding of facts, in order to determine whether or not a prima facie case of discrimination has been made out. It is then open to the respondent to demonstrate that there was no discrimination. This is an important development in how the burden of proof is dealt with in discrimination cases. It clarifies that it is not only the claimant’s evidence which will be scrutinised in determining whether the burden of proof has shifted, but also the respondent’s evidence (or lack thereof).


Hannah Price
Hannah Price is a Legal Director at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The highest administrative court in the Netherlands has delivered a razor-sharp ruling on the intra-community service provision set out in Articles 56 and 57 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). This concerns ‘new’ EU-nationals who are still under transitional measures with regard to access to the labour markets of ‘old’ EU Member States. The judgment was preceded by a request from the Chairman to a State Councillor Advocate General to deliver his opinion on various aspects of punitive administrative law practice in the Netherlands. Both the opinion and the judgment are a welcome clarification and addition (or even correction) on the practice.


Bart J. Maes
Bart J. Maes is a partner at Maes Staudt Advocaten N.V. in Eindhoven, the Netherlands (www.maes-staudt.nl).

    The Czech Supreme Court has given guidance on the limits to employees’ free speech. Employees must not engage in any conduct, even outside working hours, that could actually or potentially damage their employer’s business. Any criticism of an employer must be based on facts and not be misleading or defamatory. Inappropriate or unjustified criticism may lead to immediate termination of employment.


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