Judgment No. 2097
THE COMPLAINTS ARE DISMISSED.
"If the contracts are valid and enforceable and not in breach of any applicable staff rule or principle of international civil service law, the Tribunal has no power to reform them or to remake the bargain which the parties themselves have chosen to make."
competence of tribunal; iloat; applicable law; international civil service principles; staff regulations and rules; amendment to the rules; provision; terms of appointment; contract; acceptance; official
The complainants worked simultaneously under a fixed-term appointment at half-time and a short-term part-time appointment. "While it is unusual to find an employee working simultaneously for a single employer under two different contracts of employment, there is nothing inherently illegal about such an arrangement."
organisation; exception; terms of appointment; contract; fixed-term; part-time employment; short-term; difference; official
Because of serious financial difficulties the organisation had to employ the complainants simultaneously under a fixed- term appointment at half-time and a short-term part-time appointment. After being restored to their full-time fixed-term status they complained about the rates of remuneration received by them under their short-term contracts. "The principle which guarantees equal remuneration for work of equal value [...] is designed to prevent discrimination by employers between employees and to ensure that persons performing different work of the same or similar value shall receive equal remuneration. The organization is right to submit that its most common application is to the classification or grading of jobs [...]. That principle was never intended to apply so as to give rise to a claim by an individual to be paid at the same rate for all work which he or she performs: differential rates for work performed under different conditions, such as overtime to take a common example, are not discriminatory. In the present case there is nothing improper in the who's paying lower rates to persons such as the complainants doing temporary work on a short-term basis."
status of complainant; organisation; amount; general principle; equal treatment; enforcement; terms of appointment; post classification; contract; fixed-term; part-time employment; short-term; salary; scale; budgetary reasons; overtime; condition; difference; safeguard; official
"Most contracts are entered into because both parties think it is to their economic advantage to do so. Where there is great disparity in bargaining power [...] the law will impose constraints upon the more powerful. In the international civil service that is one of the functions of the staff rules, and where these are inadequate, the Tribunal will intervene to redress the balance through the application of general principles of international civil service law."
grounds; tribunal; international civil service principles; staff regulations and rules; enforcement; contract; limits; difference; right
[T]he complainants have asked the Tribunal to order WHO to produce a vast array of documents relating to its hiring practices generally in an apparent attempt to demonstrate that the Organization has acted illegally or unfairly in other cases. [...]
The Tribunal will not countenance this type of "fishing expedition". It can only deal with complaints filed in accordance with its Statute and the Rules, and the materials presently before it are fully adequate to allow it to dispose of the present case; it will not embark on a general inquiry extending beyond the complaint actually before it.
disclosure of evidence; fishing expedition
In respect of each short-term appointment taken up by them, [the complainants] entered into a written contract specifying the duration, remuneration, grade, step and other pertinent conditions applicable to them. They do not deny that they were paid exactly as stated in the contract documents. If the contracts are valid and enforceable and not in breach of any applicable staff rule or principle of international civil service law, the Tribunal has no power to reform them or to remake the bargain which the parties themselves have chosen to make.
Furthermore, the complainants, having taken the benefit of the short-term appointments offered to them, have a heavy burden to overcome if they are to argue successfully that the Tribunal should now treat the contracts as being null, for it is now impossible to replace the parties in the position they were in at the time the bargain was struck. They must show either that their short-term appointments violated some fundamental and overriding principle of law or that their apparent consent thereto was vitiated.
terms of appointment; short-term; role of the tribunal