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Judgment No. 2531

Decision

1. The WTO shall pay the complainant a sum equal to three months' salary and allowances.
2. It shall also pay him 2,000 Swiss francs in costs.
3. All other claims are dismissed.

Considerations 9 and 10

Extract:

"A question remains as to whether the complainant was given sufficient notice of the Organization's intention not to renew his contract. Precedent has it that staff on short-term contracts are entitled, before any decision is taken not to extend or renew their appointment, to 'reasonable notice', particularly so that they may exercise their right to appeal and take whatever action may be necessary. It is true that in this case the short-term Staff Rules do not require any notice, except in the event of termination (when notice is limited to seven days), which does not apply in this case. Account should be taken, however, of the fact that the complainant was employed uninterruptedly by the Organization for more than three years. He was officially notified of the non-renewal of his contract - which until then had been regularly renewed - only by a letter he received on 28 January 2004, that is three days prior to the expiry of his last appointment. The defendant Organization suggests that he was well aware that his contract would not be renewed since he had been informed of that fact first unofficially and then officially on 16 January 2004. It even goes so far as to argue that the announcement of the competition for the complainant's post in the vacancy notice of 27 October 2003 constituted the 'reasonable notice' required by the case law and that, from that date onwards, the complainant knew full well that if he was not selected he would not continue working for the [Organization].

The Tribunal considers that it was only through the non-renewal decision received on 28 January 2004 that the complainant was able to know for certain that he would be leaving the Organization and that he would not be offered any other employment, despite the fact that [...] he had performed many duties, starting in 1998. Thus the situation is not very different from that dealt with by the Tribunal in its Judgment 2104 [...] and it is worth noting that, in its attempt to reach a settlement, the Organization had offered to pay the complainant the equivalent of three months' salary, consisting of two months in lieu of reasonable notice and one month for moral injury. That proposal was reasonable and, in view of the long working relationship between the [Organization] and the complainant and the very brief time that elapsed between the notification of the non-renewal of the contract and the end of the complainant's appointment, the Tribunal will echo that proposal by ruling that the complainant shall be paid a sum equal to three months' salary and allowances."

Reference(s)

ILOAT Judgment(s): 2104

Keywords

complaint allowed; complaint allowed in part; decision; right of appeal; case law; organisation's duties; duty to inform; staff regulations and rules; seniority; contract; competition; vacancy notice; short-term; separation from service; non-renewal of contract; notice



 
Last updated: 16.03.2009 ^ top