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Case Law

2020/1 EELC’s review of the year 2019

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2020
Auteurs Ruben Houweling, Daiva Petrylaitė, Peter Schöffmann e.a.
Samenvatting

    Various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year. However, first, we start with some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Daiva Petrylaitė

Peter Schöffmann

Attila Kun

Francesca Maffei

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Niklas Bruun

Jan-Pieter Vos

Luca Ratti

Anthony Kerr

Petr Hůrka

Michal Vrajík

    The German Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, the ‘BAG’) has held that pre-employment as a freelancer must be taken into account in relation to the number of years having been with a firm as a freelancer when assessing the legality of a fixed-term contract due to the character of the specific deployment.


Sean Illing
Sean Illing is an Associate Solicitor at Lewis Silkin LLP.
Case Reports

2019/5 For how long may data of a job applicant be stored? (AT)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden Privacy, Discrimination, General
Auteurs Sophie Mantler en Andreas Tinhofer
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    A provision of Dutch law, according to which employees who lose their jobs upon retirement are excluded from the right to statutory severance compensation, is not in breach of the Framework Directive.


Sophie Mantler
Sophie Mantler is a senior associate and

Andreas Tinhofer
Andreas Tinhofer is a partner at MOSATI Rechtsanwälte in Vienna (www.mosati.at).
Law Review

2019/1 EELC’s review of the year 2018

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2019
Auteurs Ruben Houweling, Catherine Barnard, Filip Dorssemont e.a.
Samenvatting

    For the second time, various of our academic board analysed employment law cases from last year. However, first, we start with some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Catherine Barnard

Filip Dorssemont

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Francesca Maffei

Niklas Bruun

Anthony Kerr

Jan-Pieter Vos

Luca Ratti

Daiva Petrylaite

Andrej Poruban

Stein Evju

    The Oporto Court of Appeal held that the employee’s availability 24 hours per day, 6 days per week, breaches the employee’s right to rest. However, such breach does not qualify the availability periods as overtime. The Court also found that the continuous use of a GPS system breached the employee’s right to privacy.


Dora Joana
Dora Joana is a managing associate with SRS Advogados, Lisbon.

    Racist ‘liking’ on Facebook may justify dismissal for serious misconduct, says the Labour Court of Liège in a decision of 24 March 2017. This case is interesting because, to the author’s knowledge, it is the first time that a simple ‘like’ (as opposed to a proper comment) on Facebook is assessed by a Belgian judge with a view to validate a dismissal for serious misconduct. This case also raises serious questions about the limits to the freedom of expression in social media.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an attorney at Van Olmen & Wynant in Brussels, www.vow.be.
Law Review

Access_open 2018/1 EELC’s review of the year 2017

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2018
Auteurs Ruben Houweling, Catherine Barnard, Zef Even e.a.
Samenvatting

    This is the first time we have produced a review of employment law cases from the previous year, based on analysis by various of our academic board members. But before looking at their findings, we would first like to make some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Catherine Barnard

Zef Even

Amber Zwanenburg

Daiva Petrylaitė

Petr Hůrka

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Erika Kovács

Jan-Pieter Vos

Andrej Poruban

Luca Ratti

Niklas Bruun

Francesca Maffei

    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.
ECtHR Court Watch

ECtHR 9 January 2018, application nos. 1874/13 and 8567/13, Fundamental rights, Privacy

Lopez Ribalda – v – Spain, Spanish case

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2018
Trefwoorden Fundamental rights, Privacy
Samenvatting

    The Spanish courts breached Article 8 of the Convention on Human Rights by accepting covert footage as valid evidence in court.

ECtHR Court Watch

ECtHR 5 September 2017 (Barbulescu), Application no. 61496/08, Privacy

Barbulescu – v – Romania, Romanian case

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 4 2017
Trefwoorden Fundamental rights, Privacy
Samenvatting

    In Barbulescu, the Court examined for the first time a case concerning the monitoring of an employee’s electronic communications by a private employer. The Grand Chamber decided differently from the Chamber, when it concluded that the Romanian courts, in reviewing the decision of a private employer to dismiss an employee after having monitored his electronic communications, failed to strike a fair balance between the interests at stake: namely the employee’s right to respect for his private life and correspondence, on the one hand, and his employer’s right to take measures to ensure the smooth running of the company, on the other.

Case Reports

2017/21 Legal rules for employers for monitoring employees in Slovakia (SK)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 2 2017
Trefwoorden Privacy, Unfair dismissal
Auteurs Gabriel Havrilla en Richard Sanák
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    An employer can monitor an employee’s emails provided it has made it clear beforehand that it might do so. It is permissible for the employer to prohibit employees from using its electronical equipment for private use, but if the employer is going to check whether this rule was being complied with, it needs to have a significant reason to do so and must respect the principles of legality legitimacy and proportionality.


Gabriel Havrilla

Richard Sanák
Gabriel Havrilla and Richard Sanák are respectively managing partner and junior associate with law firm Legal Counsels s.r.o., www.legalcounsels.sk.
Case Reports

2017/20 Data gathered by GPS as a basis for disciplinary dismissal (PT)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 2 2017
Trefwoorden Privacy
Auteurs Maria de Lancastre Valente en Mariana Azevedo Mendes
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Distance-related data gathered by GPS and data reported manually by the employee (a sales representative at a pharmaceutical company) are valid and admissible sources of evidence in the context of a disciplinary dismissal procedure. This decision is innovative in that it contradicts the usual view of the Supreme Court of Justice on the scope of ‘distance-controlled supervision’ for the purposes of assessment of employee conduct.


Maria de Lancastre Valente

Mariana Azevedo Mendes
Maria de Lancastre Valente and Mariana Azevedo Mendes are respectively a Managing Associate and a Trainee Associate at SRS Advogados, Portugal; www.srslegal.pt.

    The Supreme Court ruled that evidence of wrongdoing obtained by a company against two former executives was admissible in court, as it was legitimate that the company should have the opportunity to defend its right to free competition. In such cases, the executives’ right to privacy of communication should be balanced against the company’s freedom of competition.


Effie Mitsopoulou
Effie Mitsopoulou is a partner with Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm in Athens, www.kglawfirm.gr.
ECtHR Court Watch

ECtHR 26 January 2017, application no. 42788/06, Right to fair hearing and right to respect for private and family life

Surikov – v – Ukraine, Ukrainian case

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 2 2017
Trefwoorden Right to respect for private and family life
Samenvatting

    ECtHR concludes that there has been a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) in the case of retention and disclosure of an employee’s mental-health data and its use in deciding on employees’ applications for promotion.

    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

Case C-73/16. Data protection

Peter Puškár – v – Finančné riaditeľstvo Slovenskej republiky, Kriminálny úrad finančnej správy, reference lodged by the Slovakian Najvyšší súd Slovenskej republiky on 10 February 2016

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2016
Trefwoorden Data protection

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’) has upheld an Employment Tribunal’s (‘ET’s’) finding that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’) was not engaged when an employer used private material obtained by the police during a criminal investigation as part of an internal disciplinary investigation into one of its employees. This material had been taken from the claimant’s phone by the police, who then provided it to the employer (stating that it could be used for the purposes of their investigation). The facts in this case were unusual. Whether or not an employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy in similar circumstances will depend on all the facts, including the source of the information, whether the employee has expressly objected to its use, and whether the relevant conduct took place in, or was brought into, the workplace.


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