Judgment No. 1639
1. The impugned decision is set aside.
2. The Organization shall pay the complainant the total of salary, allowances and other benefits pertaining to her grade and step as from 7 July 1995 up to the date at which the Director-General takes a new decision on her case in accordance with due process, less any sums received by her from the Organization or in occupational earnings from other sources since 7 July 1995.
3. The Organization shall pay her 5,000 United States dollars in moral damages.
4. It shall pay her 4,000 dollars in costs.
5. All her other claims are dismissed.
The Director-General took the view that since the complainant admitted misconduct there was no need to give her any opportunity of defending herself. "The defendant's argument is mistaken. Before it notified to her the decision of summary dismissal it had brought no charges against her, and she therefore had no case to answer. And once it had made the decision to dismiss her without giving her a prior hearing, it had already acted in breach of due process. [...] An international organisation must inform the staff member of any charges it is levelling against him and give him the opportunity of answering before it takes any disciplinary action: audi alteram partem is a requirement it must observe in all circumstances. [...] Even though she had admitted to the incident, she did not on that account forfeit her right to be heard, be it to make a plea in mitigation or to give her own version of the facts or to raise any other issue she wished in her own defence."
complaint allowed; complaint allowed in part; complainant; adversarial proceedings; right to reply; organisation's duties; duty to inform; termination of employment; mitigating circumstances; serious misconduct; disciplinary measure; summary dismissal; right