Judgment No. 4167
1. The decisions of the Director General of Eurocontrol of 15 March 2016 and 13 December 2016 are set aside.
2. Eurocontrol shall pay the complainant 20,000 euros in moral damages.
3. It shall also pay her 5,000 euros in costs.
4. All other claims are dismissed.
The complainant challenges the Director General’s decision to reject her complaint of psychological harassment and seeks compensation for the injury she considers she has suffered.
complaint allowed; decision quashed; harassment
In order to justify his refusal to disclose the remaining part of the report, the Director General invoked reasons of confidentiality.
According to Article 5 of Office Notice No. 06/11, “[t]he Joint Committee for Disputes shall carry out its activities with complete independence. It shall gather any information it requires to formulate an opinion. The members of the Committee shall be required to respect the confidential nature of information disclosed to them.”
The investigation report obviously contained information that the Committee needed to have access to in order to form an opinion on the merits of the complainant’s internal complaint. Since the members of the said committee are obliged to respect the requirement of confidentiality of the information disclosed to them, as expressly specified in the aforementioned Article 5, the Director General could not invoke this requirement to justify his refusal to disclose the entire report to the Committee.
internal appeals body; confidential evidence
The Tribunal also notes that this refusal to disclose resulted in the Committee being unable to give a proper opinion on the merits of the internal complaint. The Director General thus rendered his final decision without the benefit of such an opinion, thereby disregarding an essential safeguard inherent in the right of appeal, which is the requirement that his final decision be informed by the opinion of the Committee. The decision is thus tainted with another irregularity.
internal appeals body; final decision; investigation report
The Tribunal recalls that, in accordance with its case law, an executive head of an international organisation who departs from a recommendation of an internal appeal body must state the reasons for disregarding it and must motivate the decision actually reached (see Judgments 3908, consideration 3, and 3863, consideration 8).
ILOAT Judgment(s): 3863, 3908
[B]y dismissing the complainant’s allegations of harassment on the grounds that the established facts could not constitute psychological harassment in the absence of intention, the Director General erred in law.
It follows that the decision of 15 March 2016 must be set aside.
In such a case, the Tribunal should in principle remit the case to the Organisation for a new decision to be taken on the basis of the correct interpretation of the applicable provisions. However, for the same reasons as those already indicated in consideration 5 [of the judgment], the Tribunal will not do so in this case and will instead award the complainant compensation for the injury caused by the decision of 15 March 2016.
harassment; moral damages