Judgment No. 3961
The complaint is dismissed, as is the EPO’s counterclaim.
The complainant impugns the Administrative Council’s implied rejection of his request to order an investigation into the unauthorised public disclosure of confidential information relating to ongoing disciplinary proceedings against him, and to initiate disciplinary proceedings against those involved.
confidential evidence; inquiry; disciplinary procedure; investigation; complaint dismissed
Consistent case law holds that procedures may include many steps which lead to a final, impugnable decision, but those steps cannot be challenged separately. To allow otherwise would open procedures to a senseless and paralysing number of individual appeals that would serve no useful purpose (see Judgments 3876, under 5, 3700, under 14, 3433, under 9, and 3512, under 3).
Jugement(s) TAOIT: 3433, 3512, 3700, 3876
final decision; step in the procedure
The Tribunal shall not order the complainant to pay costs because, notwithstanding the fact that he has filed multiple complaints with duplicate requests, the present complaint cannot be regarded as vexatious by reason of its irreceivability.
vexatious complaint; counterclaim
In his original request [...], the complainant asked for an investigation into the unauthorised public disclosure of confidential information, and requested the Administrative Council to initiate disciplinary proceedings against those involved in the aforementioned unauthorised public disclosure of confidential information. The Tribunal finds the complaint to be irreceivable on two different but related grounds, both of which are decisive. On the one hand, the complainant has no right to request the initiation of an investigation and presumably of disciplinary proceedings against another staff member, and the EPO has no duty to reply to such a request. That is because the complainant has no cause of action, since he would be entitled to file a complaint with the Tribunal only on the basis of his personal employment relationship with the EPO by challenging measures which concern him personally on account of his status as an EPO permanent employee. The complainant is challenging the Administrative Council’s refusal to take measures that do not concern him personally and which would only serve to defend the general interests of the Organisation, such as good administration, efficiency and impartiality (see Judgments 3427, under 33, 2387, under 3, and 1899, under 3). As the EPO noted in its reply, the Tribunal stated in Judgment 1899, under 3, that “[d]isciplinary relations between an organisation and a staff member do not directly concern other members of staff or affect their position in law. Consequently, a decision regarding a disciplinary inquiry or a disciplinary measure relating to one staff member will not adversely affect other staff, so the latter will have no cause of action for challenging a disciplinary sanction or a refusal to impose one.”
request to subject someone to disciplinary proceedings