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    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.

    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 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 of Finland has ruled that an employer had legitimate grounds to make 16 consecutive fixed-term employment contracts with an employee who did not hold the degree required by law for permanent employment as a social worker. However, the employer had neglected its obligation to offer work and provide training for the employee and was obliged to pay compensation for unjustified termination of the employment relationship.


Kaj Swanljung

Janne Nurminen
Kaj Swanljung and Janne Nurminen are respectively a Senior Counsel and Senior Associate at Roschier in Helsinki, www.roschier.com.

    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 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.
Case Reports

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

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 4 2017
Trefwoorden Nationality discrimination
Auteurs Peter C. Schöffmann en Andreas Tinhofer
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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.

    The Czech Supreme Court has given guidance on the limits to employees’ free speech. Employees must not engage in any conduct, even outside working hours, that could actually or potentially damage their employer’s business. Any criticism of an employer must be based on facts and not be misleading or defamatory. Inappropriate or unjustified criticism may lead to immediate termination of employment.


Anna Diblíková
Anna Diblíková is an attorney at Noerr in Prague, www.noerr.com.

    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 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.

    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)

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).
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