Judgment No. 675
THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL'S DECISION OF 2 MAY 1984 IS QUASHED; THE COMPLAINANT IS AWARDED THE SUM OF US$15,000 AS COMPENSATION AND THE SUM OF $4,000 AS COSTS.
Having served the organization since 1969, the complainant was seconded for two years to the UNDP in 1980. In 1982 the organization decided not to extend the appointment or the secondment. The Tribunal holds that the organization committed an error of law by assuming that a fixed-term appointment expires automatically on the specified expiration date, and an abuse of power for having terminated the complainant without stating its reasons. The award of damages reflects the especially grave moral injury sustained by the complainant.
duty to substantiate decision; moral injury; secondment; legitimate expectation; contract; fixed-term; non-renewal of contract; discretion; flaw; misuse of authority; abuse of power
Considerations 8 & 13
The failure to give a reason will in many cases lead to the conclusion either that the Director-General mistakenly thought that he held an arbitrary power to do as he liked or that his decision was in fact arbitrary or wrongly motivated.
The staff member is entitled to know the reason at the time; it is only with that knowledge that, when he is seeking other employment, he can answer the inquiries of prospective employers. In so far, however, as the complaint is based on abuse of power, it is relevant to know whether or not there was an unstated reason. But a statement that appears for the first time in the course of legal proceedings and then only as part of the argument cannot carry the same conviction as one that is immediately and readily given.
misuse of authority; abuse of power