Judgment No. 4115
1. The impugned decision and the decision of 8 April 2016 are set aside.
2. The EPO shall restore the complainant with retroactive effect to the grade and step he would have held but for the imposition of the disciplinary sanction, with all legal consequences, in accordance with consideration 15 of the judgment.
3. The EPO shall pay interest on the resulting remuneration arrears at the rate of 5 per cent per annum from due dates until the date of payment.
4. The EPO shall pay the complainant 7,000 euros for costs.
5. All other claims are dismissed.
The complainant challenges the decision to downgrade him for serious misconduct.
complaint allowed; decision quashed; downgrading; serious misconduct
Contemporaneous documents are often more reliable than subsequent oral testimony.
The disciplinary proceedings were initiated before the appraisal period concluded. In Judgment 3224 the Tribunal said at consideration 7 that an organisation cannot base an adverse decision on a staff member’s unsatisfactory performance if it has not complied with the rules governing the evaluation of that performance. The decision to commence disciplinary proceedings can, for the purposes of the application of this principle, be characterised as an adverse decision. Even if the EPO believed that nothing was going to change, in terms of the complainant’s conduct, between the time the disciplinary proceedings were commenced and the conclusion of the appraisal period a little over a month later, it was nonetheless obliged to complete the assessment of the complainant’s performance in accordance with Circular No. 366 before initiating the disciplinary proceedings.
due process; organisation's duties; patere legem; work appraisal; unsatisfactory service; disciplinary procedure; performance evaluation
It is unnecessary to hold an oral hearing as requested by the complainant. The written material provided by the parties has been sufficient to enable the Tribunal to resolve this complaint without such a hearing.
The complainant sought moral damages by way of relief but advanced no evidence, or even argument, to support this claim.
evidence; moral damages