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Judgment No. 4253

Decision

1. The Organization shall pay the complainant 10,000 Swiss francs in moral damages.
2. It shall also pay him 750 Swiss francs in costs.
3. All other claims are dismissed.

Summary

The complainant, who states that he was the victim of moral harassment, claims redress for the injury he considers he has suffered.

Judgment keywords

Keywords

complaint allowed; harassment

Consideration 2

Extract:

The complainant seeks oral proceedings and the hearing of numerous witnesses, as well as the disclosure of certain documents. However, the Tribunal considers itself to be sufficiently well informed on the case by the written submissions and thus does not deem it necessary to grant these requests.

Keywords

disclosure of evidence; oral proceedings

Consideration 3

Extract:

Every international organisation is bound by a duty of care to treat its staff members with dignity and avoid causing them undue and unnecessary injury (see Judgment 2067, consideration 17). It is well established that an international organisation has a duty to its staff members to investigate claims of harassment (see Judgments 3071, consideration 36, and 3337, consideration 11). Having noted that no investigation had been conducted by HRD, the JAAB itself undertook a detailed examination of the allegations. Such an approach is acceptable if the examination satisfies the requirements of the Tribunal’s case law with regard to investigations into harassment allegations: such investigations must be prompt and thorough, the facts must be established objectively and in their overall context, the law must be applied correctly and due process must be observed (see Judgments 2642, consideration 8, and 3692, consideration 18).

Reference(s)

Jugement(s) TAOIT: 2067, 2642, 3071, 3337, 3692

Keywords

inquiry; respect for dignity; harassment

Consideration 5

Extract:

It is true that the acts to which these three pleas relate can no longer, as such, be challenged before the Tribunal. However, inasmuch as the complainant maintains that they contributed to the harassment of which he considers himself to be the victim, the Tribunal must consider them. Indeed, harassment may involve a series of acts over time (see Judgments 2067, consideration 16, and 4034, consideration 16) and can be the result of the cumulative effect of several manifestations of conduct which, taken in isolation, might not be viewed as harassment (see, for example, Judgments 3485, consideration 6, and 3599, consideration 4), even if they were not challenged at the time when they occurred (see, for example, Judgment 3841, consideration 6).

Reference(s)

Jugement(s) TAOIT: 2067, 3485, 3599, 3841, 4034

Keywords

receivability of the complaint; harassment

Consideration 6

Extract:

The Tribunal has consistently held that the principle of good faith implies that a promise must be fulfilled, subject to the condition that the promise should “be substantive, i.e. to act, or not to act, or to allow, that it should come from someone who is competent or deemed competent to make it; that breach should cause injury to him or her who relies on it; and that the position in law should not have altered between the date of the promise and the date on which fulfilment is due” (see, for example, Judgments 782, consideration 1, 3005, consideration 12, 3115, consideration 5, 3148, consideration 7, and 3619, considerations 14 and 15). The ILO submits that the complainant does not “appear” to have suffered any real injury, since he waited for almost ten years to raise the issue. This objection cannot be upheld, as the existence of injury does not depend upon the time at which it is alleged. The promise to assign the complainant coordination duties satisfies the criteria established by the case law and should therefore have been fulfilled. The complainant rightly considers that the Organization violated the principle of good faith.

Reference(s)

Jugement(s) TAOIT: 782, 3005, 3115, 3148, 3619

Keywords

good faith; promise

Consideration 6

Extract:

It is firmly established in the case law that the person alleging harassment bears the burden of proving the allegation (see Judgments 2745, consideration 20, 3347, consideration 8, 3692, consideration 18, 3871, consideration 12, and 4171, consideration 7).

Reference(s)

Jugement(s) TAOIT: 2745, 3347, 3692, 3871, 4171

Keywords

burden of proof; harassment

Consideration 6

Extract:

An international organisation has wide discretion with regard to the organisation of its services and the complainant has failed to establish that the supervision arrangement was not justified by the interests and capacities of the service. The Tribunal finds nothing irregular in a staff member reporting to another who holds the same grade (see Judgment 4084, consideration 11).

Reference(s)

Jugement(s) TAOIT: 4084

Keywords

supervisor

Consideration 8

Extract:

[T]he complainant takes issue with the Organization for having disclosed to certain representatives of Persian Gulf countries confidential emails that he had sent in 2009 to his superiors condemning current practices in those countries, which, he alleges, made him lose all credibility in the region and had adverse consequences for his reputation and professional opportunities after his retirement. The JAAB agreed that “such disclosure is neither appropriate nor acceptable, as it was probably detrimental to the dignity and the reputation of the complainant”, but it considered that the complainant was barred from presenting this argument in his harassment grievance.
The disclosure of these confidential emails, which is not disputed by the Organization, constitutes a serious violation of the obligation of good faith and the duty of care. This plea is well founded.

Keywords

confidential evidence; good faith; duty of care

Consideration 11

Extract:

In order to determine whether harassment is established, the Tribunal will refer to the Organization’s definition of harassment (see Judgments 2594, consideration 18, 4038, consideration 18, and 4039, consideration 16).
[...]
The three irregularities noted by the Tribunal, the first of which preceded the harassment claim by ten years and the second by five years, are unrelated and were committed by different persons. It cannot reasonably be concluded that, cumulatively, they are indicative of “harassing behaviour of a discriminatory, offensive, humiliating, intimidating or violent nature or an intrusion of privacy” (Article 2.9 [...]) nor that they are consistent with the creation of an “intimidating, hostile or abusive working environment or [...] used as the basis for a decision which affects [the complainant’s] employment or professional situation” (Article 13.4 of the current Staff Regulations). In the instant case, harassment is not established.

Reference(s)

Jugement(s) TAOIT: 2594, 4038, 4039

Keywords

harassment

Consideration 12

Extract:

A staff member is entitled to have a regular appraisal. In the present case, this right, enshrined in Article 6.7 of the Staff Regulations, has been seriously violated for many years. The fact that the complainant did not complain about it before 2014 is not relevant, since he was not time-barred from challenging that irregularity when he filed his grievance. Similarly, the Tribunal will not take into account the fact that the absence of appraisals may not have had any impact on his career. Appraisals are not only intended to allow for promotion. They play an important role throughout a staff member’s career, including by allowing staff members to know how their superiors evaluate their work and to challenge that evaluation or improve their performance.

Keywords

time bar; performance evaluation



 
Dernière mise à jour: 22.05.2020 ^ haut