Judgment No. 3971
The complaint is dismissed.
The complainant challenges the decisions to ban him from entering the EPO’s premises, to suspend him from duties and to downgrade him.
downgrading; disciplinary measure; disciplinary procedure; suspension; complaint dismissed
The house-ban decision as well as the suspension decision have, by themselves, an immediate, material, legal, and adverse effect on the person concerned, and are not subsumed under the final decision taken at the conclusion of any disciplinary proceedings. Consequently, they cannot be considered as mere steps leading to the final decision taken at the conclusion of the proceedings and, according to the Tribunal’s case law, must be challenged by themselves, and not as a part of the final decision (see Judgments 1927, under 5, 2365, under 4, and 3035, under 10).
Jugement(s) TAOIT: 1927, 2365, 3035
suspension; final decision; step in the procedure
The claim that the decision to downgrade the complainant violated the principle of proportionality is unfounded. Regarding the severity of the sanction, the case law has it that “[t]he disciplinary authority within an international organisation has a discretion to choose the disciplinary measure imposed on an official for misconduct. However, its decision must always respect the principle of proportionality which applies in this area” (see, for example,Judgment 3640, under 29). The complainant’s refusal to attend the IAC hearings and sessions was particularly onerous for the Organisation considering the heavy backlog of internal appeals that the IAC needed to confront. Keeping in mind that the Tribunal cannot substitute its evaluation for that of the disciplinary authority, the Tribunal limits itself to assessing whether the decision falls within the range of acceptability. In the present case, the Tribunal finds that the sanction imposed is not disproportionate.
Jugement(s) TAOIT: 3640
proportionality; disciplinary measure