Judgment No. 2039
THE COMPLAINTS ARE DISMISSED.
"Precedent says that the requirement to exhaust the internal remedies cannot have the effect of paralysing the exercise of the complainants' rights. Complainants may therefore go straight to the Tribunal where the competent bodies are not able to decide on an issue within a reasonable time, depending on the circumstances (see Judgments 1829, [...], 1968, [...], and the numerous judgments cited therein). However, a complainant can make use of this possibility only where he has done his utmost, to no avail, to accelerate the internal procedure and where the circumstances show that the appeal body was not able to reach a decision within a reasonable time (see, for example, Judgments 1674, [...] under 6(b), and 1970 [...]). In general, a request for information on the status of the proceedings or the date on which a decision may be expected is enough to demonstrate that the appellant wants the procedure to follow its normal course, and gives grounds for alleging unjustified delay if the authority has not acted with the necessary diligence. However, there are circumstances in which it is unclear whether the procedure has been abandoned or whether the staff member has implicitly consented to the suspension of his appeal in law or in fact. In such cases, the case law says that the staff member must indicate clearly if he wants the procedure to continue. For example, the Tribunal found in one case that a staff member had not met this requirement because an internal appeal he had filed was not referred to the internal appeals body of the organisation, the administration having taken steps to reach an agreed settlement to the dispute. As the staff member had not sought the continuation or renewal of the procedure, it was found that he had not pursued his appeal "diligently" and so did not qualify to file a complaint directly with The tribunal (see Judgment 1970). Similarly, in a case in which the internal appeal had been followed by negotiations in order to reach a settlement, it was found that the staff member was not justified in turning to the Tribunal without first indicating either that the procedure should follow its course in parallel with the negotiations or that it should be taken up again without further ado, and then waiting a reasonable time to see what happened (see Judgment 1674 under 6(b))."
Jugement(s) TAOIT: 1674, 1829, 1968, 1970
receivability of the complaint; internal appeals body; administrative delay; direct appeal to tribunal; internal appeal; internal remedies exhausted; time limit; delay; reasonable time; case law; staff member's duties; collective bargaining