Judgment No. 3184
1. The FAO shall pay the complainant damages in the amount of 3,000 euros.
2. It shall also pay him costs in the amount of 2,000 euros.
3. The complaints are otherwise dismissed.
The complainant challenges the decision to suspend him without pay, alleging that it was taken in breach of the rule against double jeopardy.
"The complainant objected, in his memorandum to the Secretary of the Appeals Committee, that three members of the Committee had already considered the same facts in a previous appeal. [...] The Tribunal considers that the specific rule relating to disqualification of members of the Appeals Committee stated in Manual paragraph 331.2.31 is not a complete and exhaustive statement of the circumstances in which a member is disqualified from hearing an appeal. The fundamental function of the internal appeal procedure, which is “an important safeguard of staff rights and social harmony” (see Judgment 1317, under 31), requires that “the members of an internal appeal body should not only be impartial and objective in fact, but that they should so conduct themselves and be so circumstanced that a reasonable person in possession of the facts would not think otherwise. In this last regard, it is necessary only to observe that staff confidence in internal appeal procedures is essential to the workings of all international organisations and to preventing disputes from going outside those organisations” (see Judgment 2671, under 11). If a member of the Appeals Committee had already expressed a concluded view on the merits of an appeal and was later appointed to a new Appeals Committee to express an opinion on the same merits in a later appeal, their impartiality and objectivity could be questioned."
Organization rules reference: Manual paragraph 331.2.31
Jugement(s) TAOIT: 267, 1317
internal appeals body; internal appeal; organisation's duties; bias; safeguard; composition of the internal appeals body
complaint allowed; suspension