Judgment No. 3488
1. The impugned decision dated 18 September 2012 is set aside to the extent that the Director dismissed the complainant’s harassment claim.
2. PAHO shall pay the complainant 25,000 United States dollars moral damages.
3. All other claims are dismissed.
The complainant challenges the Administration’s decision to transfer him, asserting that his transfer was the result of harassment and retaliation.
complaint allowed; decision quashed; transfer; organisation's interest; harassment
"These provisions confirm the Tribunal’s well established principle that, in the interest of an international organisation, an executive head of the organisation has a wide discretion regarding restructuring, staff appointments and assignments. The Tribunal may interfere only on the limited grounds that the decision was taken ultra vires or shows a formal or procedural flaw or mistake of fact or law, if some material fact was overlooked, if there was misuse of authority or an obviously wrong inference from the evidence. The Tribunal will be circumspect in reviewing a reassignment or transfer (see Judgments 883, under 5, 1556, under 5, and 2635, under 5). A reassignment may be influenced by the need to eliminate tensions that compromise the functioning of a unit (see Judgments 2229, under 3(a), and 2635, under 7). However, the organisation must show due regard, in both form and substance, for the dignity of the official concerned, particularly by providing her or him with work of the same level as that which she or he performed in his previous post and matching her or his qualifications (see Judgments 2191, under 3, 2594, under 14, 2819, under 8, and 2839, under 11)."
Jugement(s) TAOIT: 883, 1556, 2191, 2229, 2594, 2635, 2819, 2939
assignment; reassignment; reorganisation
There is [...] evidence that, notwithstanding these internal problems in the AIS, the complainant suffered harassment by conduct that was not simply subsumed in the foregoing general dysfunctional circumstances. The evidence shows that the complainant’s first level supervisor was to some extent responsible for the delay in the extension of the complainant’s contract. It also shows that the complainant invariably did not receive written responses to his work-related reports. It also shows that, contrary to Staff Rule 530, his first-level supervisor often did not meet with him to discuss technical and administrative matters. In some instances, he left Mr L. to carry out first-level supervisory duties with regard to the complainant, when Mr L. had no supervisory relationship with the complainant. There is also evidence that the complainant was not given the financial resources that he should have received to permit him to carry out his assigned responsibilities. The evidence also shows that his first-level supervisor did not conduct a proper PPES review for the complainant in 2003 or a feasibility review, as required, but then requested only a one-year contract extension on the ground of inadequate performance and poor conduct.
The foregoing is evidence of conduct which a reasonable person would have found offensive, demeaning, humiliating and embarrassing thus constituting harassment in the terms set out in the Appendix to PAHO’s Policy on Harassment. Accordingly, the complainant’s claim that he suffered harassment is well founded.