Judgment No. 3160
1. The decision of 2 July 2010 is set aside to the extent that it did not find a breach of confidentiality arising from the content of the letter of 21 December 2007.
2. UNIDO shall pay the complainant 4,000 euros in moral damages for breach of confidentiality.
3. It shall also pay him 1,500 euros in costs.
4. All other claims are dismissed.
The complainant successfully impugns the Director-General's decision to reject his appeal concerning breaches of confidentiality.
"This Tribunal has recognised staff members’ right to privacy. An example is found in Judgment 2271. [...]
[T]he issue is whether there was a breach of privacy or confidentiality as a result of the disclosure to the Director of PSM/HRM of the fact that the complainant had made an Appendix D claim. The answer is readily found in Judgment 3004 at consideration 6. [...] The disclosure of the mere fact that the claim had been made involved a breach of confidentiality. Being in a similar situation, the complainant should be awarded 4,000 euros as moral damages for breach of confidentiality."
ILOAT Judgment(s): 2271, 3004
moral injury; confidential evidence; communication to third party; organisation's duties; breach; lack of consent
"There are a number of decisions of this Tribunal in which an organisation has not been permitted to maintain an argument concerning the receivability of a complaint that was not raised in the internal appeal preceding the complaint to the Tribunal (see, for example, Judgment 2255, considerations 12 to 14). The principle that the failure to raise the issue of receivability in an internal appeal precludes the argument being raised before the Tribunal exists to further the interests of justice."
ILOAT Judgment(s): 2255
receivability of the complaint; internal appeal; new plea; reply; estoppel
"As to the compensation for the delay, it is well established that internal appeals must be conducted with due diligence and with regard to the care owed by an international organisation to its staff (see, in particular, Judgment 2522). Furthermore, it has been said by the Tribunal in Judgment 2902 that “by any standards a delay of nearly 19 months to complete the internal appeal process is unreasonable”. The time an appeal might reasonably take will usually depend on the particular circumstances. The Director-General recognised that the time taken in this case, a little over two years, was excessive and awarded moral damages. As noted earlier, both the complainant and UNIDO dispute the quantum of damages awarded by the Director-General for delay.
The amount of compensation for unreasonable delay will ordinarily be influenced by at least two considerations. One is the length of the delay and the other is the effect of the delay. These considerations are interrelated as lengthy delay may have a greater effect. That latter consideration, the effect of the delay, will usually depend on, amongst other things, the subject matter of the appeal. Delay in an internal appeal concerning a matter of limited seriousness in its impact on the appellant would be likely to be less injurious to the appellant than delay in an appeal concerning an issue of fundamental importance and seriousness in its impact on the appellant. For example, an extensive delay in relation to an appeal concerning the dismissal of a staff member could have a profound impact on his or her circumstances. On the other hand, a delay of precisely the same period in relation to an appeal concerning a comparatively trifling issue may have limited or possibly even no impact on the circumstances of the staff member."
ILOAT Judgment(s): 2522, 2902
internal appeal; time limit; delay; reasonable time; damages; general principle; organisation's duties; staff member's interest; compensation; effect
complaint allowed; decision quashed; breach of confidentiality