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    In its decision rendered on 28 February 2019, the Luxembourg Court of Appeal (Cour d’appel de Luxembourg) examined under which circumstances on-call duty performed at the workplace qualifies as actual working time.
    The issue raised was whether the time spent at night by an employee (i.e. the presence of an employee at the workplace) performing the work of a live-in carer was to be considered as ‘actual working time’.
    The Court expressly referred to EU case law and decided that the concept of actual working time is defined by two criteria, namely (i) whether the employee during such a period must be at the employer’s disposal, and (ii) the interference with the employee’s freedom to choose their activities.
    In view of the working hours provided for in the employment contract and in the absence of evidence proving that the employee would not have been at the employer’s home during her working hours, the Court found that the employee stayed at the employer’s home at night and at the employer’s request. It was irrelevant in this respect whether it was for convenience or not. It was further established that the employee could not leave during the night and return to her home and go about her personal business, so that the hours she worked at night were to be considered as actual working time.
    Given that the employee’s objections regarding her salary were justified (as the conditions of her remuneration violated statutory provisions), the Court decided that the dismissal was unfair.


Michel Molitor
Michel Molitor is the managing partner of MOLITOR Avocats à la Cour SARL in Luxembourg, www.molitorlegal.lu.

    The Supreme Court (SC) has unanimously decided that drivers engaged by Uber are workers rather than independent contractors. It also decided that drivers are working when they are signed in to the Uber app and ready to work.


Colin Leckey
Colin Leckey is a partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.
Case Reports

Access_open 2021/13 Equal Treatment Authority’s decision does not bind the court (HU)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 2 2021
Trefwoorden Race, Nationality Discrimination, Discrimination General
Auteurs Zsofia Olah
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This case involved an employee who claimed that her two consecutive employers breached the principle of equal treatment during their employment relationships in relation to her belonging to the Roma minority. The employee built her case on the decision of the Equal Treatment Authority, which declared that her employers discriminated against her. The Curia (the highest judicial authority in Hungary) found that the decision of another authority has no binding effect on a court according to Act III of 1952 on Civil Procedure and that in cases concerning equal treatment, the burden of proof lies on the defendant (employer) to prove that there is no link between the disadvantage suffered by the plaintiff (employee) and her protected characteristic. The Curia and regional courts also found that the employer fulfils this obligation if it successfully proves that it assessed the applicant’s qualifications, professional suitability and attitude towards work when it decided on the question of whom to employ.


Zsofia Olah
Zsofia Olah is a partner at OPL Law Firm.

    The German Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, ‘BAG’) has ruled that the user of an online platform (‘crowdworker’) who takes on so-called ‘microjobs’ on the basis of a framework agreement concluded with the platform operator (‘crowdsourcer’) can be an employee of the crowdsourcer. This applies in a case where the framework agreement is aimed at a repeated acceptance of such microjobs. The decisive factor is whether the crowdworker performs work that is subject to instructions and is determined by third parties in the context of the actual performance of the contractual relationship. The name of the contract is irrelevant. One assumes an employment relationship if the crowdsourcer controls the collaboration via an online platform operated by them in such a way that the crowdworker cannot freely shape their activity in terms of place, time and content.


Katharina Gorontzi
Katharina Gorontzi, LLM, is a senior associate at Luther lawfirm in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Jana Voigt
Jana Voigt is a senior associate at Luther lawfirm in Dusseldorf, Germany.

    The Court of Appeal has overturned a High Court decision which granted injunctive relief to prevent the defendant from removing the plaintiff from his position as chief financial officer during his probationary period.


Orla O’Leary
Orla O’Leary is an attorney-at-law at Mason Hayes & Curran in Dublin.

Laura Ryan
Laura Ryan is a trainee solicitor at Mason Hayes & Curran in Dublin.
Case Reports

2021/9 AGET Iraklis: another belated victory for the employer (GR)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2021
Trefwoorden Information & Consultation, Collective Redundancies
Auteurs Effie Mitsopoulou
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Supreme Court of Greece has clarified that the validity of terminations is not affected by the lack of consultation with the employees’ representatives, as per Directive 2002/14/EC on a general framework for informing and consulting employees. In case of non-compliance with such obligation, alternative administrative or judicial measures can be provided by the Member States. It further reiterated that the expediency and necessity of the company’s business decision to suddenly interrupt its plant operation cannot be subject to judicial control.


Effie Mitsopoulou
Effie Mitsopoulou is an attorney-at-law at Effie Mitsopoulou Law Office.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is Managing Partner at Suciu | The Employment Law Firm in Bucharest, Romania.

Teodora Manaila
Teodora Manaila is a Senior Associate at Suciu | The Employment Law Firm in Bucharest, Romania.

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that the provision under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) which renders changes to employees’ terms and conditions void if they are made because of the transfer applies to changes that are advantageous as well as detrimental to employees. On the facts of the case, this meant that owner-directors who had made significant improvements to their own employment terms before a TUPE transfer could not enforce these against the transferee employer.


Lisa Dafydd
Lisa Dafydd is an associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The Greek Supreme Court, in a case about the transfer of a business and the obligation on the transferee to continue employing the transferred employees, underlined the importance of a thorough and genuine control on all factors to be taken into consideration in order to conclude on the existence of a transfer of undertaking or not: the business transferred must retain an autonomous economic identity, in the sense that the functional link between the different factors transferred is retained, thus allowing the new entity to use them in order to exercise an economic activity identical or similar to the previous one.


Effie Mitsopoulou
Effie Mitsopoulou is an attorney-at-law at Effie Mitsopoulou Law Office.
Case Reports

2020/18 Prohibition of dismissal of pregnant employee (RO)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden Gender discrimination
Auteurs Andreea Suciu en Teodora Mănăilă
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Analysing the national legal framework in relation to the protection of pregnant employees and employees who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding, provisions which transposed the regulations of Directive 92/85/EEC and of the conclusions in case C-103/16, Jessica Porras Guisado – v – Bankia S.A. and Others, the Constitutional Court of Romania ascertained that the dismissal prohibition of a pregnant employee is strictly restricted to reasons that have a direct connection with the employee’s pregnancy status. As for other cases where the termination of the employment contract is the result of disciplinary misconduct, unexcused absence from work, non-observance of labour discipline, or termination of employment for economic reasons or collective redundancies, the employer must submit in writing well-reasoned grounds for dismissal.


Andreea Suciu
Andreea Suciu is Managing Partner and attorney-at-law at Suciu | The Employment Law Firm, Bucharest, Romania.

Teodora Mănăilă
Teodora Mănăilă is Managing Partner and attorney-at-law at Suciu | The Employment Law Firm, Bucharest, Romania.

    The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal by one of the UK’s major supermarket chains, overturning a finding that it was vicariously liable for a rogue employee’s deliberate disclosure of payroll data related to some 100,000 co-workers, of whom 10,000 brought a group claim for damages.


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

    The dismissal of an employee for gross misconduct was unfair because the investigating officer failed to share significant new information with the manager conducting the disciplinary hearing who decided to dismiss, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled.


Ludivine Gegaden
Ludivine Gegaden is an Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The notice of collective redundancies required to be given to an employment agency pursuant to Section 17(1) of the German Protection Against Unfair Dismissal Act (Kündigungsschutzgesetz, ‘KSchG’) can only be effectively submitted if the employer has already decided to terminate the employment contract at the time of its receipt by the employment agency. Notices of termination in collective redundancy proceedings are therefore effective – subject to the fulfilment of any other notice requirements – if the proper notice is received by the competent employment agency before the employee has received the letter of termination.


Marcus Bertz
Marcus Bertz is an attorney-at-law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

    In a recent Supreme Court decision, it was held by a 4-1 majority that there is no reason, in principle, why the provision of ‘reasonable accommodation’ for an employee with a disability should not involve the redistribution of duties.


Orla O’Leary
Orla O’Leary is an attorney-at-law at Mason Hayes & Curran, Dublin.

    The Federal Labour Court of Germany (Bundesarbeitsgericht, ‘BAG’) had to decide on a case in which an employee argued that his contract was not terminated by a provision that restricted the mutual duties to a certain time period for the yearly season within his contract and that the employer had to employ him during the off season. However, his lawsuit was unsuccessful as the Court found that, even though he did have an indefinite contract, the employer was not obliged to employ and pay him during the off season due to the valid provision of fixed-term employment for the time from April to October during the time of the season.


Othmar K. Traber
Othmar K. Traber is a partner at Ahlers & Vogel Rechtsanwälte PartG mbB in Bremen, www.ahlers-vogel.com.
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 central question in this case was what was the objectively applicable law to an employment contract concluded between a Turkish airline and a Dutch co-pilot, in accordance with Article 8 Rome I. The ruling is particularly interesting for the relation between the habitual place of work and the exception clause and points to the elements that should be taken into account.


Amber Zwanenburg
Amber Zwanenburg is a PhD candidate at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and member of the editorial board of EELC.

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 Irish Workplace Relations Commission has found that the termination of a franchise arrangement between a post office and a retail partner and a subsequent arrangement with another retail partner constituted a transfer of undertaking.


Orla O’Leary
Orla O’Leary is a Senior Associate at Mason Hayes & Curran LLP

    Many national decisions in Germany in the past had to deal with employers’ requirements regarding religious symbols in the workplace. Also, in 2017, the ECJ has dealt with two matters of such. Whilst the ECJ strictly refers to the principles of entrepreneurial freedom, the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, the ‘BAG’) tends to give priority to religious freedom. Last year, the BAG appealed to the ECJ for final clarification, in particular regarding the relationship between the basic rights of entrepreneurs and the constitutional right to religious freedom, by way of a preliminary ruling procedure with its decision dated 30 January 2019.


Caroline Dressel
Caroline Dressel is an attorney-at-law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbh

    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.
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