Judgment No. 2870
The complaints and the applications to intervene are dismissed.
The complaints raise the question whether Article 71 of the Office's Service Regulations - which provides for the payment of an education allowance to employees who are not nationals of the country in which they are serving and, in certain limited circumstances, to nationals of that country - offends the principle of equality. The complainants contend that, at least for the purposes of post-secondary education, Article 71 proceeds by reference to an irrelevant consideration - nationality - and, if it does not, the different treatment directed by that article is neither appropriate nor adapted to the difference involved.
"[N]ationality is the primary distinction mandated by Article 71 [...]."
"In principle, the nationality of the employee is properly to be regarded as a relevant difference warranting different treatment, including with respect to post-secondary education."
"An international organisation such as the EPO, with a large workforce composed of many different nationalities, is entitled to proceed by reference to a rule applicable to all non nationals provided that the rule is appropriate and adapted to their general circumstances. And that is so even if its application in individual cases is less than perfect. Article 71 of the Service Regulations is appropriate and adapted to the general circumstances of the children of non-nationals."
Organization rules reference: Article 71 of the Service Regulations
Jugement(s) TAOIT: 2313, 2638
nationality; equal treatment; staff regulations and rules; allowance; education expenses; difference