Judgment No. 3487
1. The impugned decision dated 6 March 2012 is set aside to the extent that it permitted the “Note for the File” of 28 March 2011 to remain on the complainant’s file.
2. The said “Note for the File” shall be removed from the complainant’s file.
3. The WTO shall pay the complainant 1,000 Swiss francs in moral damages.
4. It shall also pay him 4,000 Swiss francs in costs.
5. All other claims are dismissed.
The complainant challenges the decision to allow a “Note for the File” to remain on his personal file.
complaint allowed; report; decision quashed; personal file; performance evaluation
"The complainant has requested the production of a large number of documents. That request is refused because it is cast in the most general terms and constitutes an impermissible “fishing expedition” (see, for example, Judgment 2497, consideration 15)."
Jugement(s) TAOIT: 2497
disclosure of evidence; fishing expedition
"The complainant has also requested oral proceedings. He says that he wishes to give evidence on his own behalf. Having regard to his pleas and the evidence he has given in the materials that he has provided, the Tribunal finds it is unnecessary for him to give evidence in oral hearings. He also asks to call the colleague whom he said that he wished to represent him in his internal appeal. This is however unnecessary as there is no merit in the complainant’s contention that the WTO refused to permit that colleague to represent him in his internal appeal out of bias and in violation of his right of defence and to choose his own legal representation. The complainant states in his rejoinder that the colleague was prohibited from assisting “any staff member without the prior authorization of the [Director-General]”. There is no evidence that such authorization was either sought or refused. The complainant states that he would welcome the opportunity to cross-examine his Director who had the Note placed on his file because of an alleged vendetta and threats against him, which he asserts she made good by having the Note placed on his file. The Tribunal finds this unnecessary and confines itself to noting that the written submissions are sufficient to render a reasoned judgment. The application for oral proceedings is therefore denied."
"The Tribunal has stated, for example in Judgment 1135, under 10, that the make-up of a staff member’s file is subject to formal rules calculated to guard against the filing of documents throughout a staff member’s career about her or his conduct which have not been drawn up with due regard to the elementary safeguards of her or his rights. Consistent precedent requires that a staff member should be notified of any document that is placed on her or his file and be given an opportunity to respond to it (see, for example, Judgment 3239, under 10)."
Jugement(s) TAOIT: 1135, 3239
"The complainant’s plea that his right to confidentiality was breached is well founded. In this regard, the Tribunal finds, as did the JAB, that the contents of the Note were confidential and sensitive. As such, it should have been transmitted by the author or by her secretary directly to a senior member of HRD, rather than by way of the budget co-ordinator."