Judgment No. 4048
The complaint is dismissed.
The complainant challenges the decision not to investigate her allegations of institutional harassment.
inquiry; harassment; investigation; complaint dismissed
[C]entrally underpinning the complaint is what is characterised as a decision of 14 January 2016. Necessarily, to invoke the Tribunal’s jurisdiction, it must be a decision adversely affecting the complainant concerning either rights, privileges, obligations or duties arising under the provisions of staff regulations or the complainant’s terms of appointment. The complaint must allege non-observance of either or both (see Article II of the Tribunal’s Statute).
The letter of 10 December 2015, addressed to a Danish Minister, adverted to the allegation of institutional harassment and, in substance, was encouraging the Minister to take the opportunity of distancing himself from what the complainant perceived as a failure within the EPO to investigate the claimed harassment. The Tribunal can readily infer the letter was trying to bring about political pressure coming from the Minister directed to Mr K. The letter of 10 December 2015 did not in terms call upon the Minister to take any steps beyond, possibly, declaring his opposition to the “egregious and irregular treatment” of the complainant. It certainly did not demand or even request the vindication of a right, provision of a benefit or the enforcement of a duty or obligation of the type comprehended by Article II of the Tribunal’s Statute.
Moreover the responsive letter of 14 January 2016 did not address or concern, in so far as it directly responded to the letter of 10 December 2015, a non-observance of the type arising under Article II of the Tribunal’s Statute. In addition, it was written by Mr K., to the extent he was responding to the letter of 14 January 2016, in his capacity as Director General of a State government organ. Whatever he said in that capacity could not be treated as conduct of the EPO. Nonetheless, it may be thought that part of the letter should be treated as a response by Mr K. in his capacity as Chairman of the Administrative Council. However even if it was, it said nothing conclusively or determinedly about the complainant’s rights. There was not, in this respect, an administrative decision determining or resolving the complainant’s legal rights.
The character of the impugned decision in the letter of 24 January 2017, to the extent that it was the endpoint of a chain commencing with the letter of 10 December 2015, is determined by what preceded it. It was not, in this respect, a decision concerning a matter addressed by Article II of the Tribunal’s Statute.
ILOAT reference: Article II of the Statute
competence of tribunal; ratione materiae; administrative decision