Judgment No. 3947
The complaint is dismissed.
The complainant impugns the decision to terminate his fixed-term contract.
internal remedies exhausted; complaint dismissed
Regarding Article VII, paragraph 1,[of the Tribunal's Statute] consistent principle has it that a complainant must comply with the time limits and the procedures, as set out in the organisation’s internal rules and regulations. The following was stated, for example, in Judgment 1653, consideration 6: “According to Article VII, paragraph 1, of the Tribunal’s Statute, a complaint ‘shall not be receivable unless the decision impugned is a final decision and the person concerned has exhausted such other means of resisting it as are open to him under the applicable Staff Regulations’. So where the staff regulations lay down a procedure for internal appeal it must be duly followed: there must be compliance not only with the set time limits but also with any rules of procedure in the regulations or implementing rules.”
In the same vein, it was stated in Judgment 1469, consideration 16, that to satisfy the requirement in Article VII, paragraph 1, that internal means of redress must be exhausted, the complainant must not only follow the prescribed internal procedure for appeal, but she or he must follow it properly and in particular observe any time limit that may be set for the purpose of that procedure.
It has also been stated that a staff member of an international organisation cannot of her or his own initiative evade the requirement that internal remedies must be exhausted prior to lodging a complaint with the Tribunal. Accordingly, the following was relevantly stated in Judgment 3458, consideration 7: “It is firm case law that a staff member is not allowed on his or her own initiative to evade the requirement that internal means of redress must be exhausted before a complaint is filed before the Tribunal (see Judgments 3190, under 9, and 2811, under 10 and 11, and the case law cited therein).”
There are limited exceptions to the requirement in Article VII, paragraph 1. The following was relevantly stated in Judgment 3714, consideration 12:
“The Tribunal has established through its case law that exceptions to the requirement of Article VII, paragraph 1, of the Statute that internal remedies be exhausted will be made only in very limited circumstances, namely where staff regulations provide that the decision in question is not such as to be subject to the internal appeal procedure; where for specific reasons connected with the personal status of the complainant she or he does not have access to the internal appeal body; where there is an inordinate and inexcusable delay in the internal appeal procedure; or, lastly, where the parties have mutually agreed to forgo this requirement that internal means of redress must have been exhausted (see, in particular, Judgments 2912, consideration 6, 3397, consideration 1, and 3505, consideration 1). Moreover, the complainant bears the burden of proving that the above conditions are satisfied [...].”
ILOAT Judgment(s): 1469, 1653, 3458, 3714
receivability of the complaint; internal remedies exhausted; time limit; exception
With respect to Article VII, paragraph 2, of the Tribunal’s Statute, the Tribunal’s case law requires strict adherence to the ninety-day time limit on the grounds that time limits are an objective matter of fact and that strict adherence is necessary for the efficacy of the whole system of administrative and judicial review of decisions. It was relevantly stated in Judgment 3559, consideration 3, that:
“Article VII, paragraph 2, of the Tribunal’s Statute provides that “[t]o be receivable, a complaint must [...] have been filed within ninety days after the complainant was notified of the decision impugned”. It is not within the competence of the Tribunal to extend this period of time set forth by the Statute. As the Tribunal has repeatedly stated, this time limit is an objective matter of fact and the Tribunal will not entertain a complaint filed after it has expired. Any other conclusion, even if founded on considerations of equity would impair the necessary stability of the parties’ legal relations, which is the very justification for the time bar. The ninety-day period begins to run on the day following the date of notification of the impugned decision. Where the ninetieth day falls on a public holiday, the period is extended until the next business day (see Judgments 2250, under 8, 3393, under 1, and 3467, under 2).”
ILOAT Judgment(s): 3559
receivability of the complaint; time limit; time bar
Principle has it that the right to lodge an internal appeal is not lost if the appeal is sent to the wrong body. The following was accordingly relevantly stated in Judgment 3027, consideration 7:
“[I]n Judgment 1832, under 6, it was held that a staff member did not lose his right to appeal simply because the appeal was sent to the wrong internal body. It was said in that case: ‘If the staff member appeals in time but makes the wrong choice between Council and President, there is nothing in the rules to prevent correction of the mistake. After all, both Council and President are authorities within one and the same Organisation.’.”
ILOAT Judgment(s): 1832, 3027
internal appeal; right of appeal
[P]aragraph 8 of [Instruction] IN/217 does not mandate notification to be in writing. The notification of the termination decision may have taken any form which informed the complainant of the subject decision (see Judgment 3505, consideration 8, and the judgments cited therein). Having been verbally notified of the termination decision on 1 March 2015, the complainant’s deadline for sending a request for review was 30 April 2015.
ILOAT Judgment(s): 3505
decision; formal requirements; judicial review