Judgment No. 3752
1. WHO shall pay the complainant, by way of material damages, a sum of 120,000 Swiss francs less any amounts paid to the complainant as a result of the impugned decision.
2. WHO shall pay the complainant 25,000 Swiss francs by way of moral damages.
3. WHO shall pay the complainant 4,000 Swiss francs costs.
4. All other claims are dismissed.
The complainant, a former WHO staff member, challenges the decisions to abolish his post and to terminate his continuing appointment.
complaint allowed; abolition of post
Considerations 16 & 17
[T]he scope of Staff Rule 1330.1 will be influenced by what is comprehended by the expression “National Professional Officers”. One possibility is that it is simply a position ascribed that designation or description by the Organization. Another possibility is that it is a position with particular characteristics. This latter approach is supported by WHO Manual, […] that sets out criteria for the employment of NPOs. Importantly, for present purposes, two characteristics of such positions are identified. One is that “[t]he work performed by [NPOs] should have a national content”. The other is that “[t]he functions of all [NPO] posts should be justified within the overall efforts of the United Nations system to increase national development and other related categories. NPOs should bring to bear in the job national experience and knowledge of local culture, language traditions and institutions.” Similar commentary, of more general application, is found in the publications of the International Civil Service Commission (see, for example, the report of the Commission on “Review of National Professional Officers: terms and conditions of service” (Doc. ICSC/70/R.10)). There is a compelling argument that the power conferred by Staff Rule 1330.1 is limited to appointing NPOs to posts where these characteristics are an essential feature of the work required. If so, the creation of the two IT positions in Kuala Lumpur as NPO positions was not authorised by that rule.
[...] It was certainly not necessary that these positions be created as NPO positions other than, perhaps and from WHO’s perspective, as a mechanism to create economies through local pay scales and other conditions of employment. But these last mentioned matters are not the rationale for the creation of NPO positions but rather the consequences of doing so.
Organization rules reference: Staff Rule 1330.1
national professional officer
Having regard, amongst other things, to the complainant’s age, grade and the status of his employment (continuing appointment) and the circumstances giving rise to the flaw in the process identified in the reasoning of the Tribunal, the Tribunal will award material damages [...].