Judgment No. 4184
1. The impugned decision of the Director General of 18 January 2016 is set aside.
2. The case is remitted to the ILO for a decision on the complainant’s grievance, as set out in consideration 6 of the judgment.
3. The Organization shall pay the complainant 5,000 Swiss francs in moral damages.
4. It shall also pay her 750 Swiss francs in costs.
5. All other claims are dismissed.
The complainant mainly challenges the alleged misuse of short-term contracts in her case, the non-extension of her last contract and the allegedly incorrect classification of her job.
complaint allowed; internal appeal; decision quashed; case sent back to organisation; late appeal
The Tribunal, in Judgment 3704, in considerations 2 and 3, recalled that the time limits for internal appeal procedures and the time limits in the Tribunal’s Statute serve the important purposes of ensuring that disputes are dealt with in a timely way and that the rights of parties are known to be settled at a particular point of time. The Tribunal’s rationalisation of this general principle may be summarized as follows: time limits are an objective matter of fact and strict adherence to them is necessary to ensure the stability of the parties’ legal relations. However, there are exceptions to this general principle laid down in the Tribunal’s case law. One of them is the case where the defendant organisation misled the complainant, depriving him of the possibility of exercising his right of appeal in violation of the principle of good faith (see, for example, Judgment 2722, consideration 3, and Judgment 3311, considerations 5 and 6). The Tribunal also recalls that a complaint against an implied rejection may be deemed receivable, notwithstanding the expiry of the time limit for filing a complaint, if a particular step taken by an organisation, such as sending a dilatory reply to the complainant, might give that person good reason to infer that his or her claim is still under consideration (see Judgment 2901, consideration 10).
Jugement(s) TAOIT: 2722, 2901, 3311, 3704
receivability of the complaint; internal appeal; late appeal; implied rejection of internal appeal
According to the Tribunal’s case law, staff members are entitled to expect their requests to be dealt with by the competent authorities within a reasonable period of time (see, for example, Judgment 3773, consideration 5). In the present case, the complainant sent her grievance to HRD on 26 June 2013 and it was not until 19 November 2014 that HRD informed her that she should no longer expect to receive a reply from the Organization to her grievance. The Tribunal considers that the fact that the Organization did not give the complainant any reply and, moreover, that it waited more than a year to inform her that this would be the case, after having informed her that she would receive a reply, constitutes an unacceptable attitude on the part of the Organization, which reflects a lack of respect for the complainant. This has resulted in moral injury that requires compensation.
Jugement(s) TAOIT: 3773
moral injury; delay
[T]he impugned decision [...] must be set aside. The case will be remitted to the Organization so that the complainant’s grievance, which has thus wrongly been declared irreceivable, may be examined by the JAAB and that a new decision may be taken by the Director-General on the complainant’s grievance.
case sent back to organisation