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Journal European Employment Law Cases x

    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.
Rulings

ECJ 24 June 2021, case C-550/19 (Obras y Servicios Públicos en Acciona Agua), Fixed-Term Work, Transfer of Undertakings, Employment Terms

EV – v – Obras y Servicios Públicos SA and Acciona Agua SA, Spanish case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Fixed-term Work, Transfer of Undertakings, Employment Terms
Abstract

    Spanish ‘fijos de obra’ employment contracts could be in breach of the Framework Agreement on Fixed-Term Work. Following a transfer, only the rights and obligations arising from the last contract transfer, provided that this is not to the detriment of the employee. Both are for the referring court to verify.

    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.
Rulings

ECJ 11 February 2021, Joined Cases C-407/19 and C-471/19 (Katoen Natie Bulk Terminals and General Services Antwerp), Other Forms of Free Movement

Katoen Natie Bulk Terminals NV and General Services Antwerp NV – v – Belgische Staat and Middlegate Europe NV – v – Ministerraad, Belgian cases

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Other Forms of Free Movement
Abstract

    Legislation which reserves dock work to recognised workers may be compatible with EU law if it is aimed at ensuring safety in port areas and preventing workplace accidents. However, the intervention of a joint administrative committee in the recognition of dockers is neither necessary nor appropriate for attaining the objective pursued.

Case Law

Access_open 2021/1 EELC’s review of the year 2020

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
Authors Ruben Houweling, Daiva Petrylaitė, Marianne Hrdlicka e.a.
Abstract

    Various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year. However, first, we start with some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Daiva Petrylaitė

Marianne Hrdlicka

Attila Kun

Luca Calcaterra

Francesca Maffei

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Niklas Bruun

Jan-Pieter Vos

Luca Ratti

Andrej Poruban

Anthony Kerr

Filip Dorssemont
Rulings

ECJ 26 January 2021, Case C-16/19 (Szpital Kliniczny im. dra J. Babińskiego Samodzielny Publiczny Zakład Opieki Zdrowotnej w Krakowie), Disability Discrimination, General Discrimination

VL – v – Szpital Kliniczny im. dra J. Babińskiego Samodzielny Publiczny Zakład Opieki Zdrowotnej w Krakowie, Polish Case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Disability Discrimination, General Discrimination
Abstract

    Payment of an allowance only to workers with disabilities who have submitted disability certificates after a date chosen by that employer may constitute direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of disability.

    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.
Rulings

ECJ 8 October 2020, Case C-644/19 (Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” Sibiu and Others), Age Discrimination, Fixed-Term Work

FT – v – Universitatea « Lucian Blaga » Sibiu and Others, Romanian case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2020
Keywords Age Discrimination, Fixed-Term Work
Abstract

    Difference in treatment of teaching staff not found to be age discriminatory, but may be in breach of the fixed-term work directive.

Pending Cases

Case C-372/20, Social Insurance, Gender Discrimination

QE – v – Finanzamt Wien für den 8., 16. und 17. Bezirk, reference lodged by the Bundesfinanzgericht (Austria) on 6 August 2020

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2020
Keywords Social Insurance, Gender Discrimination

    This article focuses on the posting of workers in the aviation industry. The main problem is that it is not clear in which situations the Posting of Workers Directive should be applied to aircrew (i.e. cabin crew and pilots). The aviation sector is characterised by a very mobile workforce in which it is possible for employees to provide services from different countries in a very short timeframe. This makes it, to a certain extent, easier for employers to choose the applicable social legislation, which can lead to detrimental working conditions for their aircrew. This article looks into how the Posting of Workers Directive can prevent some air carriers from unilaterally determining the applicable social legislation and makes some suggestions to end unfair social competition in the sector. This article is based on a research report which the authors drafted in 2019 with funding from the European Commission (hereafter the ‘Report’)


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert (PhD) is senior associate at the Brussels law firm Van Olmen & Wynant.

Pieter Pecinovsky
Pieter Pecinovsky (PhD) is counsel at the Brussels law firm Van Olmen & Wynant.

    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.
Landmark Rulings

ECJ 22 April 2020, case C-692/19 (Yodel Delivery Network), Working Time, Employment Status

B – v – Yodel Delivery Network Ltd, UK case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Working Time, Employment Status
Abstract

    Directive 2003/88/EC precludes a self-employed independent contractor from being classified as a ‘worker’ under the Directive, if they are afforded discretion on the use of subcontractors, acceptance of tasks, providing services to third parties and fixing their own hours of work, provided that the independence does not appear to be fictitious and no relationship of subordination between them and their putative employer can be established.

Pending Cases

Case C-942/19, Fixed-term Work

Servicio Aragonés de la Salud – v – LB, reference lodged by the Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Aragón (Spain) on 31 December 2019

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Fixed-term Work
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.
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