Judgment No. 2760
1. The decision of the Director General of 20 February 2007 is set aside.
2. The case is sent back to the IAEA in order that the complainant's rights may be determined in accordance with consideration 8 of this judgment.
3. The Agency shall pay the complainant compensation in the amount of 10,000 euros for the moral injury suffered.
4. It shall also pay her 5,000 euros in costs.
5. All other claims are dismissed.
The complainant, a Canadian national, married a person of the same sex, as she is permitted to do under the law in force in Canada. She immediately informed the Agency of her new marital status and applied for the dependency benefits to which staff members with a spouse are eligible, but her application was rejected. The defendant points out that, for the purpose of applying its Staff Regulations and Staff Rules, it has a definition of the term "spouse" which refers only to the partners of a union between persons of opposite sex, since the Guide to Dependency Benefits, which was drawn up for the staff, indicates that the term "'[s]pouse' for all purposes of the Staff Regulations and Staff Rules is defined to mean the husband or wife". "But this mere information document, which was prepared by the Administration and has no normative value, clearly cannot prescribe the adoption of a restrictive definition which does not appear in the applicable texts themselves.
Furthermore, while the Tribunal notes that the same definition was also given in a Notice to the Staff of 11 July 2005, that document likewise could not narrow the scope of the concept of 'spouse' to which the Staff Regulations and Staff Rules refer. Although the secretariat of an organisation may always circulate a Notice to the Staff to clarify certain provisions of its staff regulations and rules, such a notice cannot impose on staff any restrictive conditions other than those stipulated in the provisions themselves."
Organization rules reference: Guide to Dependency Benefits
marital status; organisation; applicable law; written rule; administrative instruction; domestic law; information note; precedence of rules; staff regulations and rules; enforcement; provision; family allowance; dependant; limits; binding character; condition; definition; publication; purpose; refusal; request by a party; same-sex marriage