Judgment No. 2558
1. The EPO shall pay the complainant 1,000 euros in moral damages.
2. It shall also pay her 2,000 euros in costs.
3. All other claims are dismissed.
The complainant was dismissed at the end of the extension of her probationary period. She criticises the way her probation was conducted. The Tribunal considers that her criticism "is not entirely unfounded. At the time she took up her duties, her predecessor had been retired for five months and staff changes continued among officials who should have been involved in training and supervising her and who were hence responsible for assessing her performance. It is clear, therefore, that during her probationary period the complainant did not enjoy the best assistance and supervision.
However regrettable these circumstances may be, they are not such as to invalidate either the decision to extend the complainant's probationary period beyond the end of 2002 or the decision to dismiss her at the end of the extension."
decision; organisation's duties; vacancy; work appraisal; appointment; probationary period; extension of contract; training; retirement; termination of employment; supervisor; flaw
According to the complainant, the decision to extend her probationary period is unlawful because it was not taken by the President of the Office. "It is for the Organisation to prove that whoever decides to extend an official's probationary period, or to dismiss the official, is authorised to take that decision, either by virtue of a statutory provision, or by virtue of a lawful delegation by the person in whom such authority is vested under that provision (see Judgment 2028, under 8, third paragraph, and 11). [...] In the absence of any formal delegation by the President, the Tribunal concludes that the complainant's plea that the decision to extend her probationary period was taken ultra vires is well founded. This flaw will not lead it to set aside the decision in question, but it does justify compensating the complainant for any moral injury the flaw may have caused her."
ILOAT Judgment(s): 2028
decision; moral injury; competence; iloat; burden of proof; lack of evidence; organisation's duties; staff regulations and rules; provision; probationary period; extension of contract; allowance; termination of employment; decision-maker; delegated authority; executive head; flaw; consequence; refusal; official
According to the complainant, the decision to extend her probationary period is unlawful because it was not taken by the President of the Office. "The defendant has not shown that the Principal Director of Personnel was competent or held a delegation of authority; it merely acknowledges in its reply 'that there is no decision signed by the President extending the complainant's probationary period'. It argues that this does not invalidate the decision to extend the probationary period in view of the absence of any obvious error in the assessment of the complainant's performance. This argument is surprising insofar as it clearly arises from a confusion between the formal requirements and the substantive requirements of an administrative decision. Whether a decision is justified or not in substance, whoever takes the decision must in all cases make sure beforehand that he has the power to do so and, if not, refer the matter to the competent authority for a decision."
decision; organisation; formal requirements; competence; lack of evidence; reply; organisation's duties; work appraisal; probationary period; extension of contract; delegated authority; executive head; flaw; formal flaw; mistaken conclusion
The complainant accuses the Appeals Committee of having breached her defence rights by refusing to call on the Office to produce the documents she requested. "Ideally, the Appeals Committee would have given reasons for rejecting the complainant's offer of additional evidence in the form of the testimonies of seven witnesses and 15 documents that the Office was being asked to produce, or would at least have made it clear in its opinion that the evidence already produced was sufficient to lead it to an objective assessment of the relevant facts. The complainant, however, offers no convincing explanation that all these items of evidence are really relevant. The Tribunal cannot therefore consider the rejection of the proffered evidence as constituting abuse of the broad discretion that internal appeals bodies must enjoy in this area."
grounds; complainant; organisation; internal appeals body; report; evidence; disclosure of evidence; testimony; oral proceedings; right to reply; breach; offer; discretion; misuse of authority; refusal; request by a party; abuse of power