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Case Reports

2020/34 Challenge to validity of Workplace Relations Act 2015 unsuccessful (IR)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden Unfair Dismissal, Fair Trial, Miscellaneous
Auteurs Orla O’Leary
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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 European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that, while it is for national courts to make decisions about employment status, a courier working for Yodel in the UK appeared to have been correctly classified as self-employed, given the latitude he had over accepting jobs, working for competitors, providing substitutes and deciding his work schedule. The crucial factors were independence and subordination.


Colin Leckey
Colin Leckey is a Partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The administrative law sector of the Overijssel Court has asked preliminary questions about the level of holiday pay during sickness, in situations where sick pay is lower than regular pay. This enables the ECJ to clarify its case law on holiday pay once more.


Jan-Pieter Vos
Jan-Pieter Vos is a teacher and PhD candidate at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and member of the editorial board of EELC.

    The Austrian Supreme Court has confirmed that an employer must pay compensation to an employee due to a violation of the employee’s privacy. The employer implemented a GPS system in its company cars without the employee’s knowledge and without legal basis.


Lukas Disarò
Lukas Disarò is an Attorney-at-Law at law Firm MMag. Gregor Winkelmayr, MBA, LL.M (Essex).

    The Romanian Court of Appeal has overruled a first instance court’s decision with the effect that the employees working in the public administration/special utilities/budgetary units are entitled to benefit from paid annual leave, in the case of multiple roles, in accordance with Directive 2003/88/EC, Directive 97/81/EC and ECJ rulings.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is the Managing Partner of Suciu I The Employment Law Firm (https://suciu-employmentlaw.ro/).

Gabriela Ion
Gabriela Ion is an Associate at Suciu I The Employment Law Firm (https://suciu-employmentlaw.ro/).

    The Brussels Labour Court of Appeal, in a judgment of 10 September 2019, has ruled that the notion of ‘maternity’ contained in the Belgian Gender Act does not go as far as protecting mothers against discrimination with regards to childcare, since this would confirm a patriarchal role pattern. However, a recent legislative change introducing ‘paternity’ as a protected ground might cast doubt on the relevance of this ruling for the future.


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

2020/6 Supreme Court judgment on the concept of comparable permanent employees (DK)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden Fixed-term work, Other forms of discrimination
Auteurs Christian K. Clasen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In a recent case on fixed-term employment, the Danish Supreme Court addressed the question of what constitutes a comparable permanent employee. The Supreme Court ruled that four employees, who worked in a government agency, were not comparable with the agency’s permanent employees and for this reason they had not been discriminated against on the grounds of their fixed-term contracts.


Christian K. Clasen
Christian K. Clasen is a partner at Norrbom Vinding, Copenhagen.
Case Reports

2020/7 Successive fixed-term employment contracts (RO)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden Fixed-term work
Auteurs Andreea Suciu en Teodora Manaila
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Craiova Court of Appeal has ruled that the continuous extensions of a fixed-term employment based on national provisions is not in accordance with the European jurisprudence. Relying on the findings of ECJ case C-614/15, the Craiova Court of Appeal made an exhaustive analysis of the relying arguments for subsequent extensions of fixed-term employments agreements for long periods of time and the objective reasons behind such use of contracts.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is managing partner at Suciu I The Employment Law Firm, Bucharest, Romania.

Teodora Manaila
Teodora Manaila is an attorney-at-law at Suciu I The Employment Law Firm, Bucharest, Romania.

    On 3 October 2019, in case C-274/18 (Schuch-Ghannadan), the ECJ held that a national regulation, which provides for different maximum total durations of successive fixed-term employment contracts for part-time workers on the one hand and full-time workers on the other, could result in a discrimination of part-time workers and an indirect discrimination of women.


Ines Kager
Mag. Ines Kager is teaching and research assistant at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.

    Relying on the prohibition of age discrimination stemming from Directive 2000/78, the Brussels Labour Tribunal, in a judgment of 28 November 2019, ruled that an age limit of 25 for the recruitment of air traffic controllers constituted direct discrimination. Its decision was grounded on the fact that even if there are objective reasons related to air traffic safety which may justify setting an age limit for applicants, the employer must adduce concrete evidence based on scientific facts.


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

2020/8 Right of temporary workers to the same pay for the same work (LT)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden Temporary agency work, Other forms of discrimination
Auteurs Vida Petrylaitė
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    On 20 June 2019, Vilnius Regional Court in Lithuania (instance of appeal) delivered a decision in a case where the applicants claimed that a temporary employment agency, UAB Manpower Lit (the ‘Agency’), which recruited temporary workers (‘claimants’) for the European Institute for Gender Equality (‘EIGE’), paid them lower salaries than permanent staff. It was ruled that the Agency had discriminated against these workers by paying them lower salaries than they would have received if they had been recruited directly by EIGE. The Court also ordered the payment of pay arrears for a certain period to the temporary staff.


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

    The European Commission recently conducted a public consultation on the measures that may be taken to ensure the full application of the principle of equal pay between women and men. Its evaluation report is expected before the end of this year. The new Swiss legislation on monitoring and disclosure of the gender pay gap may be inspiration for future EU initiatives in this area.


Sara Rousselle-Ruffieux
Sara Rousselle-Ruffieux is an attorney-at-law at Lenz & Staehelin, Geneva, Switzerland.
Case Reports

2019/47 Transfer of undertakings does not include temporary agency workers (AT)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 4 2019
Trefwoorden Transfer of undertakings, Transfer, Employees who transfer/refuse to transfer
Auteurs Thomas B. Pfalz
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In a series of rulings the Austrian Supreme Court has made it clear that temporary agency workers are transferred to the transferee only if they are assigned to the transferor on a permanent basis. According to the Court, the facts of the cases at hand are not comparable to those of the ECJ ruling in Albron Catering BV (C-242/09). Hence the temporary agency workers remain with their original employer. However, some aspects of the Court’s reasoning seem unclear if not contradictory with regard to other recent judgments.


Thomas B. Pfalz
Thomas B. Pfalz is a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Law at the University of Klagenfurt.

    The Federal Labour Court had to decide on a case in which an employee asserted claims for damages against his public employer on account of an overtime regulation which infringed European law. However, because he had failed to comply with the time limits, his lawsuit was unsuccessful in the final instance.


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

    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 Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – BAG) has decided that the entitlement to paid annual leave only expires at the end of the calendar year or at the end of a carry-over period if the employer has previously put the employee in a position to take his leave and yet the employee has not taken the leave out of his own free will. The court held that the employer must cooperate in granting the leave. He has to encourage the employee to take his – concrete numbered - leave and inform him accurately and in good time, that the entitlement to paid leave would otherwise expire.


Daniel Zintl
Daniel Zintl is an attorney-at-law with Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

    The Court of Appeal (CA) has ruled that it was unlawful to discriminate against an employee because of a mistaken perception that she had a progressive condition which would make her unable to perform the full functions of the role in future.


Bethan Carney
Bethan Carney is a Managing Practice Development Lawyer at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    Relying on the prohibition of age discrimination stemming from Directive 2000/78, the Labour Tribunal of Leuven refused to apply a Collective Labour Agreement establishing the minimum monthly salary for employees depending on their work experience even if not relevant and the Royal Decree enforcing it. The jurisdiction grounded its decision on the fact that this gave a strong advantage to older employees without objective justification.


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

    The High Court (HC) dismissed an application by an employer for an interim injunction to prevent strike action organised by two trade unions, who were demanding parity of treatment for their members as compared to members of another union. It was more likely than not that the two unions would succeed in establishing, at the full trial of the matter, that the statutory protection under UK law for industrial action applied.


Kerry Salisbury
Kerry Salisbury is an Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    This was a case alleging detrimental treatment for whistleblowing brought by an employee working outside the UK against two co-workers also working abroad in the same location. The Court of Appeal (CA) ruled that there was no jurisdiction for the Employment Tribunal (ET) to hear the claim in relation to personal liability of the co-workers because they were outside the scope of UK employment law. The CA’s judgment potentially has implications for other types of claim brought by UK employees posted abroad where similar personal liability provisions apply, such as discrimination and harassment.


Richard Lister
Richard Lister is a Managing Practice Development Lawyer at Lewis Silkin LLP.
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