Judgment No. 4394
1. The impugned decisions are set aside.
2. The cases are remitted to the EPO for proper examination by the Appeals Committee of the merits of the complainants’ internal appeals, and for new final decisions.
3. The EPO shall pay each complainant 7,000 euros in moral damages.
4. It shall also pay each complainant 800 euros in costs.
5. All other claims are dismissed.
The complainants challenge the decision deriving from the Administrative Council’s decision CA/D 2/15 to require the recipients of the new retirement pension for health reasons to cease performing gainful activities or employment or to refrain from performing such activities or employment.
complaint allowed; cause of action; case sent back to organisation
Two of the complainants have requested hearings. However, the requests are rejected as the parties have expressed their positions in sufficient detail in their written submissions and supporting documents to permit the Tribunal to make an informed decision.
As acknowledged in the 17 July letters to the complainants, the amendments introduced by CA/D 2/15 were aimed at changing the complainants’ status. Specifically, as from 1 January 2016 the complainants would be granted a retirement pension for health reasons and would not be allowed to carry out gainful activities or employment, which had been permitted under their previous status, and this change was contrary to their interests. As the Tribunal has said before, “there may be a cause of action even if there is no present injury: time may go by before the impugned decision causes actual injury. The necessary, yet sufficient, condition of a cause of action is a reasonable presumption that the decision will bring injury. The decision must have some present effect on the complainant’s position” (see Judgments 1712, consideration 10, 2632, consideration 10, and 3337, consideration 7). The Tribunal finds that the notification of the complainants’ status change contained in the 17 July letters entitled “Implementation of Administrative Council decision CA/D 2/15 dated 26 March 2015: transitional measures for 2015” was reasonably construed by the complainants as the implementation of the general decision, triggering the count towards the deadlines for filing their requests for review.
In light of the above, the Tribunal finds that the Appeals Committee erred in recommending to summarily dismiss the complainants’ internal appeals as “manifestly irreceivable” for failure to establish a cause of action and the President of the Office erred when he endorsed that recommendation.
ILOAT Judgment(s): 1712, 2632, 3337
cause of action
The unlawful summary dismissal of [the] appeals by the […] final decisions, endorsing the Appeals Committee’s recommendation, left the complainants in uncertain and stressful circumstances, thereby entitling them to an award of moral damages […].