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Case Reports

2019/20 How to interpret the Posting of Workers Directive in the cross-border road transport sector? Dutch Supreme Court asks the ECJ for guidance (NL)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 2 2019
Trefwoorden Private International Law, Posting of Workers and Expatriates, Applicable Law
Auteurs Zef Even en Amber Zwanenburg
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this transnational road transport case, the Dutch Supreme Court had to elaborate on the ECJ Koelzsch and Schlecker cases and asks for guidance from the ECJ on the applicability and interpretation of the Posting of Workers Directive.


Zef Even
Zef Even is a lawyer with SteensmaEven, www.steensmaeven.com, and professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Amber Zwanenburg
Amber Zwanenburg is a lecturer and PhD Candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

    Austrian courts have to deal with an increasing number of cases concerning dismissal on grounds of (alleged) discrimination. The particular challenge is to a draw a conclusive distinction between the concepts of disability and sickness.


Peter C. Schöffmann
Peter C. Schöffmann is a teaching and research associate at the Institute for Austrian and European Labour Law and Social Security Law at Vienna University of Economics and Business, www.wu.ac.at/en/ars.

    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.

    According to the Belgian Supreme Court, a choice of Belgian law for an employment relationship extends to all provisions beyond the employment contract. If parties choose to apply Belgian law to their employment relationship, this choice may extend to all provisions of Belgian law which regulate the mutual rights and obligations of the parties. This includes legislation on well-being at work and, hence, the payment of a protection indemnity following dismissal after filing a claim for harassment.


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

2019/5 For how long may data of a job applicant be stored? (AT)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden Privacy, Discrimination, General
Auteurs Sophie Mantler en Andreas Tinhofer
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    A provision of Dutch law, according to which employees who lose their jobs upon retirement are excluded from the right to statutory severance compensation, is not in breach of the Framework Directive.


Sophie Mantler
Sophie Mantler is a senior associate and

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

    The Finnish Supreme Court held that a transfer of undertaking had taken place in a situation where no contract of transfer was concluded.


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

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

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden Transfer of undertaking, Employees who transfer/refuse to transfer
Auteurs Nina Stephan
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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
Case Reports

2019/10 Employee’s right of choice between transferor and transferee in the event of a business transfer (NO)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden Transfer of undertakings, Employees who transfer/refuse to transfer
Auteurs Bernard Johann Mulder
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    As a result of a transfer of an undertaking an employee lost her pension scheme rights. The transferor was bound by the pension scheme covering the employee which had been agreed upon in a collective agreement. However, the transferee company gave notification that it did not want to be bound by the collective agreement and, thus, the pension scheme. The Norwegian Supreme Court (Høyesterett) considered this loss a material negative change to the employment relationship. Therefore, the employee had the right to make use of the non-statutory exception rule of the right to insist upon continuation of the employment with the transferor, a non-statutory right of choice.


Bernard Johann Mulder
Bernard Johann Mulder is a professor at University of Oslo, Faculty of Law, Department of Private Law.

    On 8 November 2018 the Italian Constitutional Court prohibited the reform of the protection against unfair dismissal introduced by the so-called Jobs Act (Legislative Decree no. 23 of 4 March 2015), insofar as it imposed a requirement on the judge to quantify the compensation due for unfair dismissal based on an employee’s seniority only. According to the Court, such a requirement violated not just internal constitutional norms, but also Article 24 of the (Revised) European Social Charter of 1996. This contribution focuses particularly on the EU law questions deriving from such an important judgment.


Andrea Pilati
Andrea Pilati is an Associate Professor of Labour Law at the University of Verona, Italy.

    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.

    The Austrian Supreme Court has held that the employer must notify the Employment Service (AMS) when it is contemplating collective redundancies, even if they are carried by mutual agreement. The duty of notification is triggered if the employer proposes a mutual termination agreement to a relevant number of employees, provided the offer is binding and can be accepted by the employees within 30 days. If the employer fails to notify the AMS, any subsequent redundancies (or mutual terminations of employment occurring on the employer’s initiative) are void, even if effected after 30 days.


Andreas Tinhofer
Andreas Tinhofer is a partner at MOSATI Rechtsanwälte, www.mosati.at.

    For workers without a fixed workplace, travelling time between their place of residence and the first customer and travelling time between the last customer and the place of residence constitutes working time.


Dr. Pieter Pecinovsky
Dr. Pieter Pecinovsky is Of Counsel at Van Olmen & Wynant in Brussels www.vow.be, Assistant at Leuven University and Invited Professor at Université Catholique de Louvain.

    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.

    The Supreme Court has ruled that it is at the discretion of the competent national court to assess whether periods of stand-by time are working time. In doing so, the court should apply Romanian law as interpreted in the light of ECJ case law.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is the managing partner of Suciu I The Employment Law Firm.
Case Reports

2018/32 When is travelling time working time? (NO)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2018
Trefwoorden Working time
Auteurs Marianne Jenum Hotvedt en Anne-Beth Engan
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Norwegian Supreme Court concludes that time spent on a journey ordered by the employer, to and from a place other than the employee’s fixed or habitual place of work, should be considered working time within the meaning of the statutory provisions implementing the Working Time Directive (2003/88/EC). This ruling takes into account the Advisory Opinion of the EFTA Court.


Marianne Jenum Hotvedt
Marianne Jenum Hotvedt is an associate professor at the Department of Private law, University in Oslo. She got her PhD on the thesis ‘The Employer Concept’.

Anne-Beth Engan
Anne-Beth Engan is a senior associate with the law firm Selmer AS in Oslo.

    The Labour Court of Brussels treats the long-term effects of cancer as a disability in accordance with the case law of the ECJ. This has triggered an obligation on employers to consider making reasonable adjustments before looking at dismissal.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an attorney-at-law at Van Olmen & Wynant, Brussels.

    The transferee in this case attempted to replace the transferred employees’ salaries with lower in accordance with its collective agreement, compensating for the reduction by means of a ‘personal allowance’, which it then proceeded to reduce by a set percentage based on the age of the employees each time there was a wage increase. The court held that this ‘basket comparison’ method of harmonising the wages of old and new staff was at odds with Directive 2001/23, rejecting the transferee’s argument that the ‘ETO’ provision in that directive permits such an amendment of the terms of employment.


Shamy Sripal
Shamy Sripal works for the Department of Labour Law of Erasmus School of Law.

    In the aftermath of the ECJ’s ruling in the Asklepios case (C-680/15), the German Federal Employment Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, hereinafter: BAG) held a dynamic referral clause valid following a transfer.


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

    The Polish national social insurance authority has no power to police ‘social dumping’. Neither is there any legal basis or justification for excluding workers performing work in other EU Member States from the national social insurance system based on an unverifiable assumption that social dumping is taking place.


Marcin Wujczyk PhD.
Marcin Wujczyk, PhD., is a partner with Baran Ksiazek Bigaj Wujczyk in Krakow, www.ksiazeklegal.pl.
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