Judgment No. 1972
THE COMPLAINT IS DISMISSED.
The complainant, a director of a department, was made aware of two e-mails which were written in highly indecorous terms and, although private, commented on the running of the department. The Staff Union Committee protested against what it considered to be an invasion of privacy. The complainant did not respect the order to use discretion issued by the Director of Personnel. The Director-General, considering the complainant incapable in his function as Director of a department to maintain a stable and productive working environment, transferred him to a post of special advisor. "As the Tribunal held in Judgment 1018 [...], it is the duty of the head of any international organisation to take whatever measures can reduce tensions among his staff, and a transfer in the interests of the service may be an appropriate way of settling a conflictual situation. [...] However, since it cannot be regarded as disciplinary, the measure must, as the case law prescribes, heed the staff member's dignity and good name and not cause him undue suffering. Clearly, in this case the complainant was bound to view the measure as downgrading him. However, the fact that the organization was at pains to find him an assignment in keeping with his competence if not his wishes, to maintain his grade and to exercise the utmost discretion in dealing with the matter, shows that everything was done to protect his dignity as a senior official."
ILOAT Judgment(s): 1018
respect for dignity; transfer; downgrading; conduct; working relations; hidden disciplinary measure; discretion; executive head; organisation's interest