Judgment No. 1877
1. The contested decision is set aside.
2. The Union shall pay the complainant the amount due to him for his home leave ending on 25 July 1997.
3. It shall pay him 3,000 Swiss francs in costs.
There is no evidence to suggest that the staff member was to blame for not knowing that the rule at issue could be applied to him. Its terms should not allow for any ambiguity. While it may certainly be difficult to draft rules which do not need to be rectified subsequently, an organisation should not allow staff members to suffer the full consequences of such shortcomings.
no provision; duty to be informed; ignorance of the rules; duty to know the rules
The [organisation] rightly asserts that out of respect for the lawfulness of the Administration's action and the equality of treatment of staff it is obliged to respect rules prescribing time limits (see Judgment 1502, in re Baillon, under 6 and the judgments cited therein). However, both organisation and staff members are each required to respect the rules of good faith (see Judgment 1756 in re Awoyemi, and the judgments cited therein), especially in cases of respect for time limits. "If an organisation wants to put procedural restrictions on one of the staff member's rights or on the exercise thereof it must draft clearly enough to avoid setting traps. If it fails to do so, the text may be construed in the staff member's favour" (see Judgment 1502 under 6). The Tribunal also noted that the time limit for claims must start "at the date at which payment becomes due. If that were not so, the lapse of time would work to the claimant's detriment for as long as the rules precluded his making the claim" (see the same Judgment under 9).
ILOAT Judgment(s): 1502
claim; time limit