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    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.

    Under the Latvian Labour Law an employee has the right to terminate an employment contract with immediate effect, i.e. without complying with the statutory notice period of one month, if the employee has ‘good cause’. Under the Labour Law, ‘good cause’ is any situation, which, based on considerations of morality and fairness, would not allow for the employment to continue. If an employee terminates their employment contract for good cause the employer must pay severance to the employee based on the employee’s years of service with the employer and amounting to between one and four months’ average earnings. If the employee gives notice for good cause, this terminates the employment contract with immediate effect.
    Even if the employer disagrees with the reasons given in the termination notice, the employer cannot terminate the employment contract on any other ground and does not have the right to challenge the validity of the notice in court. However, if the employer suffers loss as a result of the immediate termination; its reputation is damaged based on the reasons given in the notice; or it has faced some other adverse consequence; the employer can bring a claim arguing that what is stated in the notice is untrue.


Andis Burkevics
Andis Burkevics is a senior associate with the Latvian office of law firm SORAINEN (www.sorainen.com).
Case Reports

2017/30 Discrimination of workers’ representatives – burden of proof (LI)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2017
Keywords Discrimination (other), Discrimination of workers’ representatives
Authors Vida Petrylaite
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Lithuanian Supreme Court has found discrimination against an employee based on his trade union activities and ruled that there was no need for the burden of proof to shift to the employer.


Vida Petrylaite
Vida Petrylaite is a partner with CONFIDENCE Law Office, Vilnus (www.confidence.lt).
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