Judgment No. 1609
1. The ILO shall pay each of the complainants 10,000 United States dollars in damages.
2. It shall pay them a single award of 50,000 French francs in costs.
3. Their other claims are dismissed.
An international organisation is liable for the injury a staff member may cause in the performance of duty, and that includes injury to other members of staff. [...] An organisation will of course not be liable for private misconduct of an employee that has no link with the performance of duty. But misconduct in the context of employment is another matter. When someone whom the organisation has appointed to act as supervisor or director commits an abuse of authority, the subordinate who suffers injury thereby is entitled to damages.
complaint allowed; complaint allowed in part; injury; liability; moral injury; complainant; organisation; misconduct; conduct; supervisor; misuse of authority; compensation; condition
The impugned letters from the administration purport to answer letters from the complainants. "Though the Director of personnel warns that their letters do not 'offer an adequate basis for a decision' and explains that the Director-General has taken his decision 'independently' of the [...] complaints, the letters constantly cite them and indeed in so many words reject several claims as irreceivable or devoid of merit. In the circumstances the complainants were free to treat the Director's letters as final decisions rejecting their [...] complaints, and appeal then lay to the Tribunal."
complaint; decision; receivability of the complaint; internal appeal; internal remedies exhausted
An organisation will of course not be liable for private misconduct of an employee that has no link with the
performance of duty. But misconduct in the context of employment is another matter. When someone whom the
organisation has appointed to act as supervisor or director commits an abuse of authority, the subordinate who
suffers injury thereby is entitled to damages. Such is the complainants' case. Without having to go through all the
evidence before it [...] the Tribunal holds that each of the complainants suffered treatment that was an affront to her personal and professional dignity. It was inadmissible for one of its officers, in this case a man, to make a habit of addressing women subordinates in language that was blatantly coarse and lascivious. What is more it offended against [an ILO circular], which seeks to ensure - to use its own words - a safe and healthful working environment free from sexual harassment and intimidation'. The whole drift of the evidence before the tribunal is that someone on whom the ILO had conferred much authority saw rough language and rough behaviour as not incompatible with his exercise of it. They were therefore part and parcel of the performance of his duties, and on that account the Organization is liable.
complaint allowed; complaint allowed in part; injury; liability; moral injury; organisation; respect for dignity; misconduct; conduct; supervisor; condition; sexual harassment
Although the complainants "corrected their second complaints more than ninety days after getting notice of the decisions, they did not act out of time on that account. They filed in time with the Tribunal complaint forms identifying the decisions they were impugning; their counsel duly applied for extensions of the time limit for correction; and those extensions were duly granted under Article 14 of the Tribunal's Rules."
ILOAT reference: ARTICLE 14 OF THE RULES
complaint; complaint allowed; complaint allowed in part; decision; receivability of the complaint; time limit; correction of complaint; date of notification; new time limit; iloat statute
liability; sexual harassment