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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.

    On 12 October 2020, the Labour Court of Appeal of Ghent ruled that there was no indirect discrimination in the case of Mrs. Achbita, because a policy of neutrality does not disadvantage Muslim women who want to wear a headscarf more than any other worker. The Labour Court of Appeal was also of the opinion that the employer should not examine alternative job positions.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an attorney-at-law at Van Olmen & Wynant.

    In 2014, the ECJ was presented with a preliminary reference from the District Court in Kolding on the matter of whether EU law provides protection against discrimination on grounds of obesity with regard to employment and occupation. Following the ECJ’s ruling, first the District Court and later the High Court found that an employee’s obesity as such did not constitute a disability within the meaning of Directive 2000/78/EC establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation since his obesity had not constituted a limitation or inconvenience in the performance of his job.


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

    On 16 December 2020, the Supreme Court of Lithuania (Cassation Court) delivered a ruling in a case where an employee claimed that the employer, JSC ‘Lithuanian Railways’, did not apply the regulations of the company’s employer-level collective agreement and did not pay a special bonus – an anniversary benefit (i.e. a benefit paid to employees on reaching a certain age) – because the employee was not a member of the trade union which had signed the collective agreement. According to the employee, she was discriminated against because of her membership of another trade union, i.e membership of the ‘wrong’ trade union.
    The Supreme Court held that combatting discrimination under certain grounds falls within the competence and scope of EU law, but that discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership is not distinguished as a form of discrimination. Also, the Court ruled that in this case (contrary to what the employee claimed in her cassation appeal) Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) is not applicable because it regulates the prohibition of discrimination on other (sex) grounds. Moreover, the Court found that there was no legal basis for relying on the relevant case law of the ECJ which provides clarification on other forms of discrimination, but not on discrimination based on trade union membership.


Vida Petrylaitė
Vida Petrylaitė is an associate professor at Vilnius university.
Case Reports

2021/4 Budget considerations can justify indirect discrimination (UK)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2021
Trefwoorden Discrimination General, Age Discrimination
Auteurs Carolyn Soakell
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    If an employer has a policy which is indirectly discriminatory and the employer’s aim is no more than saving money, the Court of Appeal (CA) has ruled that this cannot justify the discrimination. However, needing to balance the books can potentially be a valid justification for indirect discrimination.


Carolyn Soakell
Carolyn Soakell is a partner at Lewis Silkin LLP.
Case Law

Access_open 2021/1 EELC’s review of the year 2020

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2021
Auteurs Ruben Houweling, Daiva Petrylaitė, Marianne Hrdlicka 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

Marianne Hrdlicka

Attila Kun

Luca Calcaterra

Francesca Maffei

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Niklas Bruun

Jan-Pieter Vos

Luca Ratti

Andrej Poruban

Anthony Kerr

Filip Dorssemont
Pending Cases

Case C-344/20, Religious Discrimination

L.F. – v – S.C.R.L., reference lodged by Tribunal du travail francophone de Bruxelles (Belgium) on 27 July 2020

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 4 2020
Trefwoorden Religious Discrimination
Article

Access_open 2020/27 Freedom of religion: a tale of two cities

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden Religious discrimination
Auteurs Filip Dorssemont
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Are the outcomes of the CJEU judgments on religious discrimination essentially different from the outcome of similar cases dealing with restrictions on the freedom of religion ruled by the ECtHR?


Filip Dorssemont
Filip Dorssemont is a Professor of Labour Law at Université catholique de Louvain and Guest Professor at Free University of Brussels.

    The Brussels Labour Court of Appeal, in a judgment of 10 September 2019, has ruled that the notion of ‘maternity’ contained in the Belgian Gender Act does not go as far as protecting mothers against discrimination with regards to childcare, since this would confirm a patriarchal role pattern. However, a recent legislative change introducing ‘paternity’ as a protected ground might cast doubt on the relevance of this ruling for the future.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an attorney-at-law at Van Olmen & Wynant, Brussels.

    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
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

    Relying on the prohibition of age discrimination stemming from Directive 2000/78, the Labour Tribunal of Leuven refused to apply a Collective Labour Agreement establishing the minimum monthly salary for employees depending on their work experience even if not relevant and the Royal Decree enforcing it. The jurisdiction grounded its decision on the fact that this gave a strong advantage to older employees without objective justification.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an attorney-at-law at Van Olmen & Wynant, Brussels, Belgium.
Case Reports

2019/26 List of discrimination criteria (PL)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden Age discrimination
Auteurs Marcin Wujczyk
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Polish Supreme Court has held that a criterion of discrimination may also be a relationship of a social or familial nature that exists in the workplace and whose existence or absence on the part of the employee results in different treatment by the employer.


Marcin Wujczyk
Marcin Wujczyk is an attorney at law at Wardyński & Partners, Poland (https://www.wardynski.com.pl).

    In two appeal cases considered jointly, the Court of Appeal (CA) has ruled that it is not direct or indirect sex discrimination, nor a breach of equal pay rights, to provide enhanced pay for maternity leave and statutory pay only for shared parental leave (SPL).


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

    The author discusses the recent ECJ judgments in the cases Egenberger and IR on religious discrimination.


Andrzej Marian Świątkowski
Andrzej Marian Świątkowski, is a Jean Monet Professor of European Labour Law and Social Security, Jesuit University Ignatianum, Krakow, Poland and a member of the EELC Academic Board.
Pending Cases

Case C-341/19, Religious discrimination

MH Müller Handels GmbH – v – MJ, reference lodged by the Bundesarbeitsgericht (Germany) on 30 April 2019

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden Religious discrimination
Samenvatting

Case Reports

2019/27 No additional public holiday pay for working on Good Friday – Discrimination based on religion? (AT)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden Religious discrimination
Auteurs Dr. Jana Eichmeyer LL.M en Dr. Karolin Andréewitch
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Under a former Austrian law effective until February 2019, Good Friday was a public holiday only for a minority belonging to certain Christian Evangelical churches. In the case at hand, Austrian courts had to assess if this regulation and its legal consequences were valid under European Union law, or if they constituted discrimination.


Dr. Jana Eichmeyer LL.M
Dr. Jana Eichmeyer, LL.M is a lawyer at Eisenberger & Herzog in Vienna (www.ehlaw.at).

Dr. Karolin Andréewitch
Dr. Karolin Andréewitch is a lawyer at Eisenberger & Herzog in Vienna (www.ehlaw.at).

    Both the French Supreme Court and the Versailles Court of Appeal held that an employer, who must ensure that liberties and fundamental rights of each employee are respected in the working community, may lawfully prohibit the wearing of any visible sign of political, philosophical or religious beliefs in the workplace, provided that the rule contained in the company rules and regulations applies without distinction to employees in direct contact with the customers of the company only. But in the absence of such rules, sanctioning an employee who refuses to remove her Islamic veil based on the wish of a customer, which does not qualify as a genuine and determining occupational requirement, amounts to an unlawful direct discrimination and should consequently be held null and void.


Claire Toumieux
Claire Toumieux is partner and Thomas Robert is an attorney at Allen & Overy LLP in Paris, France.

Thomas Robert
Case Reports

2019/29 Eweida versus Achbita: a storm in a teacup? (EU)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden Religious discrimination
Auteurs Morwarid Hashemi LLM
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Most scholars have argued that the Achbita judgment is not in line with the jurisprudence of the ECtHR, in particular with the Eweida judgment, and gives less protection to the employee than granted by the ECtHR. In this article, I provide a different perspective on the relation between both judgments and nuance the criticisms that followed the Achbita judgment.


Morwarid Hashemi LLM
Morwarid Hashemi LLM is a former student of Erasmus University Rotterdam
Pending Cases

Case C-804/18, Religious Discrimination

IX – v – WABE e. V., reference lodged by the Arbeitsgericht Hamburg (Germany) on 20 December 2018

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 2 2019
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