Judgment No. 3266
1. The impugned decision is set aside.
2. WIPO shall pay the complainant 5,000 Swiss francs as moral damages.
3. It shall also pay him 4,000 francs in costs.
4. All other claims are dismissed.
The complainant successfully challenged the decision not to promote him on the ground that the standard used was too demanding (exceptional performance).
complaint allowed; recommendation; decision quashed; promotion; flaw
Considerations 13, 14 and 15
"At no point in the guidelines was there either expressly or impliedly a requirement that the individual who was being considered for promotion had to, in order to secure promotion, have performed their work or discharge their responsibilities in an exceptional manner.
It is true that twice in the Guidelines [...] the word “exceptionally” appeared. However, its use served the purpose of stating that promotion on merit would not be a usual or ordinary feature of employment within WIPO. That would doubtless be achieved by applying some rigour in the assessment process when applying the specified criteria. It would also be achieved if, as a practical matter (and as contemplated by paragraph 13 of the Guidelines [...]), a person was to be considered for promotion only if recommended by a supervisor and that supervisors exercise restraint in making such recommendations.
In the present case, the application of a test or standard that the complainant had to have discharged his responsibilities in an exceptional manner before he was promoted informed the decision-making of the Panel and the Appeal Board. Critically, for present purposes, it was also the test or standard used by the Director General in deciding, effectively, that the complainant should not be promoted [...]. It was a test or standard that misstated, and almost certainly overstated (in the sense that was too demanding), the criteria in the Guidelines."
staff regulations and rules; promotion; criteria