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ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 14 September 2017, case C-168/16 and C-169/16 (Ryanair), Private international law

Sandra Nogueira and Others – v – Crewlink Ireland Ltd and Miguel José Moreno Osacar – v – Ryanair Designated Activity Company

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2017
Keywords Private international law
Abstract

    When determining the place from which airline cabin crewmembers habitually carry out their work, the concept of ‘home base’ is a significant indicator.

    A clause in a collective bargaining agreement stipulating that overtime premiums for part time employees are only payable if their monthly working hours exceed those of a full-time employee is not discriminatory.


Paul Schreiner
Paul Schreiner is a partner with Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH in Essen, www.luther-lawfirm.com.

    In February 2017, a female worker was served notice of termination of her employment contract for economic reasons (odpoved pogodbe o zaposlitvi iz poslovnih razlogov). The reasons for the termination were: (i) a substantial decrease in orders, (ii) reduced realisation and (iii) reduced demand for particular products. In particular, the company had lost one of its clients in the automotive industry. The worker brought an action claiming that (i) the reason for the termination was not logical (this included challenging the arguments made in the termination letter because the business results in 2012, when the notice was served, were better than in 2011); (ii) the employer continuously requested employees to work overtime (but note that the overtime was within the statutory limits); and (iii) she had been discriminated against and the working conditions were poor in various respects. The first and second instance courts denied her claim and found the termination lawful.


Petra Smolnikar
Petra Smolnikar is the founder and managing partner of PETRA SMOLNIKAR LAW, in Ljubljana, Slovenia: http://petrasmolnikarlaw.eu.

    The Lithuanian Supreme Court ruled that a trade union acting on a territorial level has no right to represent all the employees in a single enterprise or participate in information and consultation procedures, if (i) the majority of the employees have not specifically accorded this function to the trade union or (ii) the trade union is not able to prove that a structural sub-unit has been established in that enterprise.


Vida Petrylaite
Vida Petrylaite is a partner with CONFIDENCE Law Office, Vilnius, www.confidence.lt.

    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).
ECtHR Court Watch

ECtHR 5 September 2017 (Barbulescu), Application no. 61496/08, Privacy

Barbulescu – v – Romania, Romanian case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2017
Keywords Fundamental rights, Privacy
Abstract

    In Barbulescu, the Court examined for the first time a case concerning the monitoring of an employee’s electronic communications by a private employer. The Grand Chamber decided differently from the Chamber, when it concluded that the Romanian courts, in reviewing the decision of a private employer to dismiss an employee after having monitored his electronic communications, failed to strike a fair balance between the interests at stake: namely the employee’s right to respect for his private life and correspondence, on the one hand, and his employer’s right to take measures to ensure the smooth running of the company, on the other.

Case Reports

2017/43 Mobility of employees and entitlement to annual leave (AU)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 4 2017
Keywords Nationality discrimination
Authors Peter C. Schöffmann and Andreas Tinhofer
AbstractAuthor's information

    Under Austrian law employees are entitled to more annual leave if they have worked for at least 25 years for the same employer. Employment with other employers is taken into account, but not for more than a total of five years. The ECJ will have to decide whether this limitation complies with EU law or whether it unlawfully restricts the freedom of movement of employees.


Peter C. Schöffmann
Peter C. Schöffmann is an associate at MOSATI Rechtsanwälte (www.mosati.at).

Andreas Tinhofer
Andreas Tinhofer is a partner at MOSATI Rechtsanwälte (www.mosati.at).

    On 10 January 2017, the Labour Court of Mons ruled that in the case of a collective dismissal, an employer may use absenteeism measured by the Bradford factor as a criterion for selecting employees for redundancy, without breaching anti-discrimination law.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an attorney at Van Olmen & Wynant in Brussels, www.vow.be.

    Between 2008 and 2016, around 7000 Asda employees working in retail stores (who were largely women) issued equal pay claims in the Manchester Employment Tribunal (‘ET’). The Claimants argued that retail store workers carry out work of ‘equal value’ to the predominantly male workforce working in the distribution centres, meaning they were appropriate comparators for the purposes of an equal pay claim. The ET upheld their claim, even though the stores and distribution centres were run by different departments and the rates of pay set by a different method. Asda appealed to the EAT, which dismissed all grounds of appeal and upheld the ET’s decision, allowing the UK’s largest private-sector group equal pay claim to proceed.


Katie Johnston
Katie Johnston is a Senior Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    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).

    A recent decision by the Irish Supreme Court ruled that the blanket ban on asylum seekers working in Ireland was unconstitutional and had to be changed.


Orla O’Leary
Orla O’Leary is a Senior Associate at Mason Hayes & Curran in Dublin (www.mhc.ie).
Case Reports

2017/25 Company practice versus collective bargaining agreement in the formation of acquired rights (PT)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2017
Keywords Collective labour law, Collective agreements
Authors Maria de Lancastre and Mariana Azevedo Mendes
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Supreme Court of Justice recently decided that the amount of time a practice has been observed in a collective bargaining agreement (in this case, four years) was not relevant to the acquisition of an entitlement. The entitlement in the case at hand was a public holiday on Shrove Tuesday.


Maria de Lancastre
Maria de Lancastre Valente is a Managing Associate at SRS Advogados, Portugal (www.srslegal.pt).

Mariana Azevedo Mendes
Mariana Azevedo Mendes is a Trainee Associate at SRS Advogados, Portugal.
ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 6 April 2017, case C 336/15 (Unionen), Transfer of undertakings

Unionen – v – Almega Tjänsteförbunden and ISS Facility Services AB, Swedish case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2017
Keywords Transfer of undertakings
Abstract

    A transferee must, when dismissing an employee over a year after a transfer of the undertaking, include the time he or she worked for the transferor in calculating the employee’s length of service, as this is relevant for determining the period of notice to which the employee is entitled.

    This decision of the German Federal Labour Court (‘Bundesarbeitsgericht’, or ‘BAG’) concerns what happens to leave entitlement if the employment contract is amended in the middle of the year and the number of working days changes from a four-day week to a five-day week.


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

Case C-147/17. Working time and health and safety

Sindicatul Familia Constanța and Others – v – Direcția Generală de Asistență Socială și Protecția Copilului Constanța, reference lodged by the Romanian Curtea de Apel Constanţa on 23 March 2017

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2017
ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 22 June 2017, case C-126/16 (Smallsteps), Transfer of undertakings

Federatie Nederlandse Vakvereniging and Others – v – Smallsteps BV, Dutch case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2017
Keywords Transfer of undertakings
Abstract

    A ‘pre-pack’ agreement is outside the scope of Article 5 of the Acquired Rights Directive. In this situation, the protection of workers guaranteed by Articles 3 and 4 of that directive is maintained.

ECJ Court Watch

Case C-258/17. Discrimination and pension

E.B. – v – Versicherungsanstalt öffentlich Bediensteter BVA, reference lodged by the German Verwaltungsgerichtshof on 15 May 2017

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2017
ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 13 July 2017, case C-354/16 (Kleinsteuber), Part-time work and sex discrimination

Ute Kleinsteuber – v – Mars GmbH, German case

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2017
Keywords Part-time work, Gender discrimination
Abstract

    Distinctions made for part-time workers in calculating occupational pension can be acceptable, as long as the calculations are based on legitimate objectives in accordance with law.

    The Dutch Supreme Court decided that proceedings of a company against its managing director should be brought before the court in the country where the managing director is domiciled, in accordance with Article 20(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. This only applies if the managing director, in his capacity as director and manager, for a certain period of time, performed services for and under the direction of the company in return for remuneration, since in such a case it is presumed that he has an employment agreement as a worker.


Edith Franssen
Edith Franssen is an attorney at law at Loyens & Loeff and lecturer of Labour Law at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
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