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    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.

    The Spanish Supreme Court has again ruled on the highly controversial question of whether limitations to the liability of a transferee established in a collective bargaining agreement (‘CBA’) in the context of a CBA-led transfer are valid, or whether they contravene the Spanish implementation of the Acquired Rights Directive.


Luis Aguilar
Luis Aguilar is an attorney-at-law at Eversheds Sutherland and an associate professor in Labour Law at IE University.

    The Irish Court of Appeal recently clarified the obligations of employers towards employees with a disability.
    The judgment suggests that an employer is not required to alter the duties of a position held by an employee with a disability in order to accommodate that employee’s return to work if the duties, which the employee is no longer capable of performing, are considered essential to the employee’s position.


Lucy O’Neill
Lucy O’Neill is an attorney at law at Mayson Hayes & Curran.
Case Reports

2018/20 Labour Court sets out employers’ equal treatment obligations following the transfer of a business (FI)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 2 2018
Trefwoorden Transfer of undertaking, General discrimination, Terms of employment
Auteurs Janne Nurminen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Finnish Labour Court recently decided a case about the transfer of a business and the associated obligation to harmonise employees’ salaries. The Court held that the employer had not shown good reasons for continuing to pay different salaries to employees with equivalent responsibilities long after the transfer.


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

2018/9 Uber’s work status appeal rejected (UK)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2018
Trefwoorden Miscellaneous, Employment status
Auteurs Laetitia Cooke
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Following an appeal by Uber against an employment tribunal (ET) finding last year, which was featured in EELC 2017/10, that its drivers are ‘workers’ and not self-employed contractors (reported in EELC 2017-1), the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has now upheld the ET’s original decision. The EAT rejected Uber’s arguments that it was merely a technology platform, as well as its statement that it did not provide transportation services. This decision is important as it means that Uber drivers are entitled to certain rights under UK law, such as the right to holiday pay, to the national minimum wage (NMW) and protection against detrimental treatment for ‘blowing the whistle’ against malpractice. 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.


Laetitia Cooke
Laetitia Cooke is an Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.
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