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Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases x Jaar 2017 x

    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.
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.
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.
ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 19 July 2017, case C-143/16 (Abercrombie & Fitch Italia Srl), Age discrimination

Abercrombie & Fitch Italia Srl – v – Antonino Bordonaro, Italian case

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2017
Trefwoorden Age discrimination
Samenvatting

    A provision which authorises an employer to make an on-call contract with a worker of under 25 years of age and to dismiss that worker as soon as he or she reaches 25, pursues a legitimate aim of employment and labour market policy and the means to attain that objective were appropriate and necessary.

Case Reports

2017/27 Supreme Court clarifies indirect discrimination test (UK)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2017
Trefwoorden General discrimination, Indirect discrimination
Auteurs Soyoung Lee
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Supreme Court has given a clear explanation of how the test for indirect discrimination works, holding that it is not necessary to know why a particular group is disadvantaged by an employer’s policy in order to show indirect discrimination. This decision is not particularly helpful for employers as it makes it easier for individuals to make an indirect discrimination claim. However, the Supreme Court emphasised that it is always open to an employer to show that indirect discrimination is justified.


Soyoung Lee
Soyoung Lee is an Associate Solicitor at Lewis Silkin LLP (www.lewissilkin.com).
ECJ Court Watch

Case C-258/17. Discrimination and pension

E.B. – v – Versicherungsanstalt öffentlich Bediensteter BVA, reference lodged by the German Verwaltungsgerichtshof on 15 May 2017

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2017
ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 13 July 2017, case C-354/16 (Kleinsteuber), Part-time work and sex discrimination

Ute Kleinsteuber – v – Mars GmbH, German case

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2017
Trefwoorden Part-time work, Gender discrimination
Samenvatting

    Distinctions made for part-time workers in calculating occupational pension can be acceptable, as long as the calculations are based on legitimate objectives in accordance with law.

Case Reports

2017/31 Lawful positive discrimination in favour of women (FR)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2017
Trefwoorden Discrimination (other), Positive discrimination
Auteurs Claire Toumieux en Susan Ekrami
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Company agreement provisions granting a half-day of leave to female employees on International Women’s Day constitute lawful positive discrimination in favour of women.


Claire Toumieux
Claire Toumieux is a partner with Allen & Overy LLP in Paris (www.allenovery.com).

Susan Ekrami
Susan Ekrami is a senior associate with Allen & Overy LLP in Paris (www.allenovery.com).

    On 6 December 2016, the Danish Supreme Court delivered its long-awaited judgment on the case of Ajos, addressing the issue of whether a private employer was entitled to refuse to make a redundancy payment in reliance on the former section 2a(3) of the Danish Salaried Employees Act or whether the general principle against discrimination on grounds of age needed to take precedence. It concluded that the employer was entitled to refuse to pay.


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

    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.
ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 2 March 2017, case C-496/15 (Eschenbrenner), Freedom of movement

Alphonse Eschenbrenner – v – Bundesagentur für Arbeit, German case

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 2 2017
Trefwoorden Freedom of movement

    A claim for compensation for discrimination was not excluded simply because the applicant did not have the ‘objective qualifications’ necessary for the job. According to the German General Equal Treatment Act (the ‘Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz’, or ‘AGG’), what is necessary for a compensation claim is a ‘comparable situation’. According to the latest decision of the German Federal Labour Court (the ‘Bundesarbeitsgericht’, or ‘BAG’) this can occur even if the applicant does not fulfill the general requirements to do the job.


Paul Schreiner
Paul Schreiner and Nina Stephan are respectively partner and associate with Luther Rechtsanwaltgesellschaft MbH, www.luther-lawfirm.com.

Nina Stephan
Paul Schreiner and Nina Stephan are respectively partner and associate with Luther Rechtsanwaltgesellschaft MbH, www.luther-lawfirm.com.
Case Reports

2017/1 Early retirement pension cannot justify age discrimination (AU)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2017
Trefwoorden Age discrimination
Auteurs Peter C. Schöffmann en Andreas Tinhofer
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Austrian Supreme Court has held that the selection of employees for redundancy because of their entitlement to an early retirement pension constitutes unfair dismissal on grounds of direct age discrimination. Although it was accepted that individual employers (here the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) can pursue a legitimate aim within the meaning of Article 6(1) of Directive 2000/78/EC, the means to achieve that aim were not considered appropriate and necessary. The Court stressed that a balance must be struck between the interests of older and younger employees, taking into account that it is generally easier for younger employees to find a new job. In the case at hand, however, the employer had not managed to show that its redundancy selection programme met that requirement.


Peter C. Schöffmann
Peter C. Schöffmann and Andreas Tinhofer are respectively an associate and partner at MOSATI Rechtsanwälte, www.mosati.at.

Andreas Tinhofer
Peter C. Schöffmann and Andreas Tinhofer are respectively an associate and partner at MOSATI Rechtsanwälte, www.mosati.at.

    A Spanish Supreme Court decision issued on 17 October 2016 (no. 848/2016) declares employee terminations void because the employer failed to respect the proper collective redundancy procedures based on the thresholds provided by EU Directive 98/59. The thresholds in the Directive refer to the number of employees at the establishment, whereas thresholds under Spanish law refer to the whole company. In implementing the Directive, Spanish law had aimed at being more favourable to employees, but this did not happen on the facts of this case.


Sonia Cortés
Sonia Cortés is a partner with Abdón Pedrajas & Molero, www.abdonpedrajas.com.
Case Reports

2017/10 Uber drivers found to be workers (UK)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2017
Trefwoorden Employment Tribunal
Auteurs Bethan Carney
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In a much publicised case, Uber drivers have won a first instance employment tribunal finding that they are ‘workers’ and not self-employed contractors. This decision means that they are entitled to basic protections, such as the national minimum wage, paid holiday (under the Working Time Directive) and protection against detriment for ‘blowing the whistle’ on wrong doing. The decision could have substantial financial consequences for Uber, which has around 40,000 drivers in the UK but Uber has already confirmed that it will appeal the decision, so we are unlikely to have a final determination on this question for some time.


Bethan Carney
Bethan Carney is a lawyer at Lewis Silkin LLP: www.lewissilkin.com.

    The Curia (Hungarian Supreme Court) stated in its ruling that length of service is not a protected characteristic under discrimination law. Length of employment cannot be considered as a core feature of the individual based on which he or she would belong to a specific group, as it is a result of his or her own actions. It therefore cannot be treated as a ‘miscellaneous’ ground for the purposes of the Hungarian Equal Treatment Act. Further, length of service cannot be linked to age discrimination. The length of service of an employee is not directly connected to age, therefore treatment of an employee based on length of service with a specific organisation cannot be considered age discriminatory.
    A claim based on discrimination must be supported by a comparator. Employees with different educational backgrounds and jobs with different the educational requirements, are not comparable for the purposes of equal treatment law.


Gabriella Ormai
Gabriella Ormai is the managing partner of the Budapest office of CMS Cameron McKenna LLP (www.cms-cmck.com).
ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 21 December 2016, case C-539/15 (Bowman), Age discrimination

Daniel Bowman – v – Pensionsversicherungsanstalt, Austrian case

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2017
Trefwoorden Discrimination
Samenvatting

    Requiring staff to complete five service years before progressing from the first to the second step on the salary scale, but requiring only two service years for each next step, is not age-discriminatory.

ECJ Court Watch

ECJ 24 November 2016, case C-443/15 (Parris), Sex discrimination

David L. Parris – v – Trinity College Dublin and Others, Irish Case

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2017
Trefwoorden Discrimination, Sex discrimination
Samenvatting

    The ECJ found that a gay lecturer was not unlawfully discriminated against under an occupational pension scheme that did not entitle those over a certain age or sexual orientation to claim a survivor’s benefit for their (same-sex) civil partner or spouse.

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