Welcome to the European Employment Law Cases (EELC), an online database of judgments of national courts, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights in the field of employment law. In addition to case law, we also bring you the occasional articles and news items. For more information, please click here.
2011/44 Dismissal for Using Social Media at Work - Is It Fair? (UK)
The Employment Tribunal dismissed an employee’s claim for unfair dismissal where the employee had made negative comments on Facebook about a customer who subsequently complained to the employer. Whilst the employee had a right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, her employer’s action was justified because of the risk of damage to their reputation. The dismissal fell within the range of reasonable responses available to a reasonable employer.
2011/26 Nine fixed-term contracts: no abuse (IR)
An employee was given two consecutive fixed-term contracts, lasting a total of almost one year. Then, after a break of about four months, she was given seven consecutive fixed-term contracts lasting a total of 3 years. Irish law allows “continuous” fixed-term employment up to a maximum of four years. It was therefore relevant whether the second series of seven contracts constituted a continuation of the initial series of two contracts. This was not the case, but the employer was nevertheless ordered to pay 5,000 for failure to specify the reason why the ninth contract was not permanent.
2011/23 Rebranding of pub discriminated against gay employee (UK)
An employee suffered discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation on account of his employer’s policy of rebranding a well-known “gay” pub in order to widen its clientele. This was done in such a way as to disadvantage gay customers and so directly discriminated against the claimant, who was himself gay and uncomfortable implementing the policy.
2011/17: Portuguese judgment highlights distinction between regular dismissal and probationary termination (PT)
If the parties to an employment agreement are silent on a probationary or notice period, they must be deemed to have agreed to a probationary period of 90 days, during which the employee lacks protection against termination.
2011/22 Replacement of 51 year-old TV presenter was age discrimination (UK)
A 51-year-old female TV presenter suffered unjustified age discrimination when she was replaced by younger presenters. Whilst the employer’s wish to appeal to younger viewers was a legitimate aim, the dropping of an older presenter in order to pander to their assumed prejudices was not a proportionate means of achieving that aim.
2011/33 Reimbursement of costs of expert support to Participation Bodies in The Netherlands (Article)
This article deals with one aspect of Dutch law in the field of works councils, client councils and school councils (together: “participation bodies”), namely reimbursement of legal fees and other expenses. Reimbursement of legal costs forms a crucial, though sometimes expensive element, in the law aimed at supporting these participation bodies. This article considers both the legal and the practical aspects. It may be of particular interest to lawyers of companies with subsidiaries in the Netherlands.
2011/27 Pregnancy protection despite collective redundancy (HU)
A civil servant in a public hospital was informed that she was to be dismissed in the context of a collective redundancy. As she was pregnant at the time, she had dismissal protection and could not be dismissed. Subsequently, the hospital’s activities were privatised. Even though the Hungarian transfer of undertaking legislation does not apply fully to civil servants, the entity that took over the hospital had to offer her employment.
2011/14: Employer may not deny bonus to employees who participate in an unlawful strike (FI)
It was deemed discriminatory and a breach of the employer’s duty to respect employees’ freedom of association for an employer to refuse to pay bonuses to employees who had participated in unlawful trade union strikes. However, this did not entitle the employees to separate compensation for discrimination.
ECJ 22 December 2010, cases C-444/09 and C-459/09 (Gavieiro), Fixed-term work
Interim civil servants fall within the scope of Directive 1999/70, which covers length-of-service increments. The lack of a reference to the Directive in domestic law does not preclude that law from constituting a measure of transposition. Clause 4 of the Directive is unconditional and sufficiently precise for individuals to rely on it in the period from the transposition deadline, with retroactive effect.
2011/10: Danish Supreme Court turns off the money printer in relation to failure to inform employee of employment particulars (DE)
Following a period of confusion regarding the level of compensation for inadequate statements of employment particulars, the Danish Supreme Court laid down a number of assessment principles to apply when setting the correct level. In this particular case, the employee was awarded approximately € 1,350 in compensation for never being issued with a statement of particulars, although he had requested one.