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Judgment No. 4400

Decision

1. There is no need to rule on the first complaint.
2. The second complaint is dismissed.

Summary

The complainant, a former official of the International Labour Office, impugns the decisions of the Director-General to issue a reprimand against him, to revoke his appointment as a Director, to appoint another person to that post and, finally, to discharge him with notice.

Judgment keywords

Keywords

termination of employment; disciplinary measure; complaint dismissed; private life; criminal sanction

Consideration 7

Extract:

The two complaints brought in turn by the complainant in the circumstances described above essentially seek the same redress, rest mainly on the same facts and are broadly based on the same arguments. They shall therefore be joined to form the subject of a single judgment.

Keywords

joinder

Consideration 9

Extract:

In his first complaint, the complainant requested the convening of a hearing and, in particular, the hearing of witnesses. Given that, as has just been stated, there is no need to rule on that complaint, this request – which is not repeated in the second complaint – has itself become moot. Furthermore, in view of the abundance and high degree of clarity of the submissions and evidence produced by the parties, the Tribunal considers that it is fully informed about the case and does not therefore deem it necessary to order hearings.

Keywords

oral proceedings

Consideration 10

Extract:

[W]hile it is true that under the Tribunal’s settled case law, the executive head of an international organization, when taking a decision on an internal appeal that departs from the recommendations made by the appeals body, to the detriment of the employee concerned, must adequately state the reasons for not following those recommendations (see, for example, Judgments 2339, consideration 5, 3208, consideration 11, or 4062, consideration 3), such a decision cannot be expected to address all the points raised by the appeals body in its opinion.

Reference(s)

ILOAT Judgment(s): 2339, 3208, 4062

Keywords

motivation

Consideration 19

Extract:

Paragraph 44 of the Standards of Conduct for the International Civil Service, which concerns officials’ “[p]ersonal conduct” and provides that “acts that are generally recognized as offences by national criminal laws will normally also be considered violations of the standards of conduct for the international civil service”, previously states that “[a] conviction by a national court will usually, although not always, be persuasive evidence of the act for which an international civil servant was prosecuted”.
The complainant argues that the principle set out in the second phrase concerning the probative value of convictions by national courts applies, in the words of that phrase, only “generally” and “not always”, and submits that, in the present case, the ILO was in a situation where it should have invoked that exception rather than accepting the offences of which he was accused as proven. However, it is well known that this restriction, placed on the principle in question when the Rules were adopted, was solely intended by the drafters to reserve the case of convictions in States where the courts do not offer the requisite safeguards of independence and procedural fairness. Since there is no doubt that the French legal system fulfils that requirement, the Organization – whose role plainly is not to assess whether a conviction by a national court is justified and which does not have the means to investigate conduct such as that in question in the present case by itself – rightly relied on the judgment of the Tribunal correctionnel and considered that the offences of which he had been accused had been proven.

Keywords

evidence; domestic law; conduct; disciplinary procedure; criminal sanction

Consideration 24

Extract:

[I]t should be recalled that, while international organisations cannot intrude on the private lives of their staff members, those staff members must nonetheless comply with the requirements inherent in their status as international civil servants, including in their personal conduct. This principle is, for example, laid down in paragraph 42 of the Standards of Conduct for the International Civil Service, which expressly states that “[i]nternational civil servants must [...] bear in mind that their conduct and activities outside the workplace, even if unrelated to official duties, can compromise the image and the interests of the organizations”. In the case of ILO officials, this principle also applies, in particular, pursuant to article 1.2 of the Staff Regulations, which states that “[o]fficials shall conduct themselves at all times in a manner befitting their status as international civil servants” and “[t]hey shall avoid any action [...] which may adversely reflect on their status”.
Furthermore, the Tribunal has repeatedly stated in its case law that some private conduct may, on this account, legitimately lead to disciplinary action (see, for example, Judgments 1584, consideration 9, 2944, considerations 44 to 49, or 3602, consideration 13).
Moreover, it should be observed that, insofar as the acts of which the complainant was accused in this case constituted a criminal offence, they cannot be regarded, by definition, as being purely private in nature.

Reference(s)

ILOAT Judgment(s): 1584, 2944, 3602

Keywords

conduct; disciplinary procedure; private life

Consideration 25

Extract:

[T]he Tribunal finds that the complainant’s conduct was in fact such as to reflect adversely on his position and compromise the Organization’s image and interests.
Engaging in domestic abuse, which is not only a criminal offence but also strongly condemned by society, is a clear breach of the requirements of moral probity and decency that all international civil servants must respect. By its very nature, the conduct in question therefore adversely reflected on the complainant’s status and position.
Moreover, any publicity given to such conduct was likely to compromise the reputation and image of the Organization, especially as the complainant held a senior position within it. This risk was all the more significant for the fact that the ILO’s mandate, as entrusted to it by the international community, includes promoting gender equality and combating violence against women in the world of work, and, when seen against its pursuit of these objectives, it would obviously have been highly embarrassing for the Office if it had appeared to tolerate one of its officials assaulting his wife. The offending conduct was therefore also such as to compromise the image and interests of the Organization.
In this regard, it should be pointed out that the fact that the complainant’s conviction by the Tribunal correctionnel was exempted from entry in certificate No. 2 of his criminal record does not, in practice, exclude the possibility that third parties may nevertheless learn of that conviction.

Keywords

organisation's interest; domestic violence

Consideration 28

Extract:

[A]s the Tribunal has repeatedly stated, the double jeopardy rule, which precludes only the imposition of further disciplinary sanctions for acts which have already attracted a disciplinary sanction, does not prevent both disciplinary and non-disciplinary consequences from attaching to the same acts. That rule does not therefore prevent the organisation concerned from taking measures of various kinds, each corresponding to its interests in a particular area, in response to the same act or conduct by an official (see, in particular, Judgments 3126, consideration 17, 3184, consideration 7, or 3725, consideration 9).

Reference(s)

ILOAT Judgment(s): 3126, 3184, 3725

Keywords

double jeopardy

Consideration 29

Extract:

Under the Tribunal’s case law, the disciplinary authority within an international organisation has a discretion to choose the disciplinary measure imposed on an official for misconduct. However, its decision must always respect the principle of proportionality which applies in this area (see, for example, Judgments 3640, consideration 29, 3927, consideration 13, and 3944, consideration 12).

Reference(s)

ILOAT Judgment(s): 3640, 3927, 3944

Keywords

proportionality; disciplinary measure; discretion

Consideration 31

Extract:

The Tribunal considers that an international organisation is entitled to ask its officials to inform it of any criminal convictions against them and that the duties of good faith and integrity oblige them to reply truthfully to such requests.

Keywords

duty to inform; staff member's duties; duty of loyalty; criminal sanction

Consideration 31

Extract:

It must [...] be found that the Director-General was justified in imposing a sanction on the complainant on account of the breaches of good faith and integrity shown by that behaviour. The Tribunal refers in this respect to its case law, according to which “[c]ommon decency, good faith and honest dealing lie at the root of relations between employer and employee. Whoever ventures to ignore that does so at his own peril” (see Judgments 1764, consideration 14, and 2602, consideration 20).

Reference(s)

ILOAT Judgment(s): 1764, 2602

Keywords

honesty; duty of loyalty

Consideration 20

Extract:

[A]n international organisation cannot be criticised for discounting the probative value of a person’s testimony contradicting the accusations made by that same person before the national courts.

Keywords

evidence; testimony



 
Last updated: 06.05.2021 ^ top