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    The Danish Supreme Court has ruled that the Danish authorities may have incurred liability by failing to act sufficiently quickly to amend the Danish Holiday Act to align it with EU law.


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

    The German federal court for labour law matters, the Bundesarbeitsgericht (the ‘BAG’), has held that evidence cannot be used in a dismissal lawsuit if the employer has obtained it from long-term surveillance using keylogger-software. Employers must not keep their employees under constant surveillance and must therefore expect their legal position to be weak if they try to dismiss an employee based on findings from such monitoring. The court ruling preceded the ECtHR Barbulescu ruling of 5 September 2017 (featured in EELC 2017/4) in a similar case.


Paul Schreiner
Paul Schreiner is an attorney at law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

    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.


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

    The Polish Supreme Court has recently confirmed that the collective dismissal procedure should also cover cases where the employment relationship is terminated as a result of the termination of conditions of work or pay.


Marcin Wujczyk Ph.D.
Marcin Wujczyk, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the Jagiellonian University and an attorney with Ksiazek & Bigaj Law Firm, www.ksiazeklegal.pl.

    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 Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a man seeking to establish that, if he died, his husband should be entitled to the same survivor’s pension as a female spouse would receive in the same circumstances. The Court unanimously held that an exemption in the Equality Act 2010 allowing employers to exclude same-sex partners from pension benefits accruing before December 2005, was incompatible with EU law and should be disapplied.


Anna Bond
Anna Bond is an associate at Lewis Silkin LLP: www.lewissilkin.com.

    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 Court of Appeal held that disciplinary sanctions are subject to the general principles of criminal law and therefore must respect the principle of legality. Consequently, the wording of any collective agreement that is used as the legal basis of a sanction must be sufficiently clear and precise to enable the employee to understand the consequences of his or her misconduct.


Michel Molitor
Michel Molitor is a partner with MOLITOR Avocats à la Cour in Luxembourg, www.molitorlegal.lu.

    A privately operated public bus service was transferred back to the municipality. This constituted the transfer of an undertaking even though the municipality did not buy the buses from the bus operator.


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

    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 Labour Court found that a policy requiring employees to speak English in the workplace constituted discrimination on grounds of national origin but was objectively justifiable.


Orla O’Leary
Orla O’Leary is a Senior Associate at Mason Hayes & Curran.
Case Reports

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

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2017
Trefwoorden Collective labour law, Collective agreements
Auteurs Maria de Lancastre en Mariana Azevedo Mendes
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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.
Case Reports

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

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2017
Trefwoorden Discrimination (other), Discrimination of workers’ representatives
Auteurs Vida Petrylaite
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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).

    It was direct sex discrimination for a male employee who wished to take shared parental leave (SPL) to be entitled only to the minimum statutory pay where a female employee would have been entitled to full salary during an equivalent period of maternity leave, according to a first-instance decision from the Employment Tribunal (ET).


Anna Bond
Anna Bond is an Associate Solicitor at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    After the transfer of an undertaking (or part of one) the new employer cannot modify the transferred workers’ wages without their consent. This decision of the Belgian Supreme Court of 14 November 2016 leaves no leeway to the transferee to unilaterally substitute certain contractual elements with new ones, even if the new salary scheme is more advantageous overall.


Cecilia Lahaye
Cecilia Lahaye is an attorney at Van Olmen & Wynant in Brussels (www.vow.be).

    In an international road transport case the Dutch Appellate Court held that working from a given place is not relevant when applying the Posted 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 at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

    This case report concerns the lawfulness of a notified boycott against Holship Norge AS (‘Holship’) by the Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union (‘NTF’). In its decision, the Supreme Court considered whether the collective agreement exemption from competition law could be applied, and whether the boycott was unlawful pursuant to the right to freedom of establishment established by Article 31 of the EEA Agreement, cf. Article 101 of the Constitution and Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
    The boycott would prevent Holship’s staff from loading and unloading ships docked at the Port of Drammen. NTF’s purpose was to force Holship to enter into a collective agreement containing a priority of engagement clause, reserving loading and unloading work for dockworkers associated with the Administration Office for Dock Work in Drammen. The majority of the plenary Supreme Court found (10-7) that such boycott would be unlawful pursuant to section 2 of the Boycott Act. The dissent concerns the EEA rules.


Kurt Weltzien
Kurt Weltzien is a lawyer in NHO, which is the main representative organisation for Norwegian employers. He has a PhD on the thesis “Boycott in labour conflicts”. Kurt Weltzien also represented NHO in the Supreme Court in the case discussed in this case report.

Anne-Beth Engan
Anne-Beth Engan is an associate with Advokatfirmaet Selmer DA in Oslo.

    A pregnant employee with no valid work permit in France does not benefit from protective legal provisions forbidding or restraining her termination.


Claire Toumieux

Susan Ekrami
Claire Toumieux and Susan Ekrami are a partner and associate with Allen & Overy LLP in Paris, www.allenovery.com.

    The transferee dismissed the plaintiff immediately upon the transfer, for business reasons. The plaintiff claimed the dismissal was invalid because the transferee did not consult the union representatives who were transferred. The Supreme Court held that, in the absence of a works council, the union representative has, by law, all rights and obligations with regard to information and consultation. Failure to abide by the information and consultation rules rendered the decision to dismiss invalid.


Dina Vlahov Buhin
Dina Vlahov Buhin is a lawyer with Vlahov Buhin & Šourek in cooperation with Schoenherr Attorneys at Law, www.schoenherr.eu.

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’) considers the Equality Act – and to some extent the Equal Treatment Directive – and gives guidance about harassment and victimisation claims as well as on principals’ liability for acts of their agents. In a decision that declines to expand the scope of harassment claims, the EAT has decided, in particular, that it is not enough for claimants alleging harassment to simply assert that they are disabled, without meeting the definition of disability or falling into another protected situation.


Anna Sella
Anna Sella is a Senior Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.
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