Judgment No. 4402
The complaint is dismissed.
The complainant challenges the decision not to reclassify his position.
post classification; complaint dismissed
The import of the complainant’s argument is that any member of staff of an international organisation has an ongoing right, enforceable through internal appeal and ultimately in the Tribunal, to request or even demand at any time a review of salary and classification which must be considered by the organisation and have a decision made on the request.
It is true that the Tribunal has acknowledged in, for example, Judgment 2706, consideration 12, that: “it is the duty of international organisations to abide by the principle of equality and in particular to comply with its requirement that there be equal pay for work of equal value. [...] if their rules and procedures do not ensure adherence to those requirements in respect of their staff, it is their duty to take remedial steps, whether by way of some general rule or by some specific procedure for the particular case.” Additionally, it has been acknowledged in, for example, Judgment 2931, that the principle of equality feeds into the determination of an appropriate classification.
But the complainant has failed to establish the legal foundation for his contention that the Director HRD was under a legal duty to consider his request […], let alone that he was then duty bound to reclassify the complainant’s position as requested.
post classification; equal pay for equal work
Access to the Tribunal is generally conditioned by Article VII of its Statute, which requires that a complainant exhaust internal means of redress. It is also conditioned by the need for a complainant to raise a case of non-observance of the terms of appointment or non-observance of applicable Staff Regulations (see Article II of the Statute). The complainant does not point to any provision in IFAD’s Staff Rules or any other normative legal document applicable at the time he made his request on 27 July 2017 expressly conferring on an individual staff member a right to make such a request directly to the Director HRD and thereby seek to have her or his position reclassified or expressly creating any corresponding duty on the organisation to consider and determine such a request.
The complainant seeks to avoid the consequences of there being no express right as just discussed by arguing that the reorganisation of LEG in June 2015 required the Director HRD to ensure all positions were correctly classified and, if they had not been, as argued by the complainant in his brief, the Director HRD “had an ongoing obligation to do so whenever the matter was brought to his attention”. Even accepting, for present purposes, that there had been an obligation during the reorganisation to ensure positions were correctly classified, it is a large step to say that the obligation was an ongoing one, enlivened at any time by an individual who had been involved in the reorganisation requesting reclassification by correspondence directly with the Director HRD. As the Director HRD rightly pointed out in his email of 20 October 2017, any failure to address correctly the complainant’s classification during the reorganisation in 2015 should have been challenged at the time, as should have decisions made in 2012-2013 which may have borne upon his classification.
The complainant refers to Judgment 3861 in support of a proposition that an organisation must ensure staff are properly compensated and accordingly must make sure positions are properly graded. But that judgment was far more narrowly focused. The Tribunal said “the principle of good faith and the concomitant duty of care demand that international organisations treat their staff with due consideration in order to avoid causing them undue injury; an employer must consequently inform officials in advance of any action that may imperil their rights or harm their rightful interests (see Judgment 2768, under 4)”.
cause of action; competence of tribunal; time bar; post classification; reorganisation