Judgment No. 4289
1. The ICGEB shall pay the complainant compensation in the amount of 40,000 euros under all heads.
2. The ICGEB shall pay the complainant 8,000 euros in costs.
3. All other claims are dismissed.
The complainant challenges the decision not to renew her appointment for unsatisfactory performance and the decision to reject her harassment complaint.
complaint allowed; fixed-term; non-renewal of contract; harassment; performance evaluation
The Tribunal’s case law has consistently stated that the decision not to renew a fixed-term contract is a discretionary decision, but if the decision is based on poor performance, the assessment of that performance has to be made in accordance with the rules established for that purpose. As the Tribunal observed in Judgment 2991, consideration 13:
“It is a general principle of international civil service law that there must be a valid reason for any decision not to renew a fixed-term contract. If the reason given is the unsatisfactory nature of the performance of the staff member concerned, who is entitled to be informed in a timely manner as to the unsatisfactory aspects of his or her service, the organisation must base its decision on an assessment of that person’s work carried out in compliance with previously established rules (see, for example, Judgments 1911, under 6, and 2414, under 23).”
Allied to this is an obligation to afford an opportunity to improve (see, for example, Judgments 2678, consideration 8, and 3026, considerations 7 and 8).
ILOAT Judgment(s): 1911, 2414, 2678, 2991, 3026
fixed-term; non-renewal of contract; performance evaluation
The ICGEB did not have, at the time, a formal written policy concerning the investigation of harassment complaints. The Tribunal’s case law requires that such complaints be investigated promptly and thoroughly (see, for example, Judgment 3071, consideration 36).
ILOAT Judgment(s): 3071
[T]he approach of the Advisory Panel was fundamentally flawed. In its report [...], the Advisory Panel set out and answered or addressed a series of propositions. The first proposition was: “whether the allegations contained in the [complaint] are sufficiently grounded in fact beyond reasonable doubt and are made in good faith”. The Advisory Panel answered this proposition in the negative. A staff member alleging harassment, and a fortiori in an investigation on a preliminary basis of the type being undertaken, does not need to establish, nor does the person or body evaluating the claim, that the facts establish beyond reasonable doubt that harassment occurred. While an allegation of harassment may found disciplinary proceedings in which the standard of “beyond reasonable doubt” would apply, it has no application in the assessment of the claim of harassment where the staff member is seeking workplace protection or damages or both. This issue has recently been addressed by the Tribunal (see Judgment 4207, consideration 20).
ILOAT Judgment(s): 4207
harassment; standard of proof