EPO : three big wins at ILOAT
The ILOAT has handed down a number of Judgments on 26 June, in the course of its 126th session. This is a session on which the EPO Administration will not look with undiluted pleasure. To put it bluntly, it is disastrous for the President Benoît Battistelli and PD43 Elodie Bergot.
Here are the three EPO big wins at the ILOAT :
4042 – Weaver v. EPO
The Tribunal notes that the Complainant was accused of the breach of principle of confidentiality for forwarding letter to SUEPO. The Staff Reg did not prevent disclosure made by the Complaint. The mere fact that the sender of the letter states a letter is confidential does not mean the letter is actually confidential. Staff Reps must enjoy a broad freedom of speech – posting on the website was the result of the union’s activities and the Complainant cannot be made liable for it.
Undue pressure on SUEPO member – recalling terms of financial support made by SUEPO was nothing wrong.
Tribunal was reasonable conduct for a staff union representative – NO misconduct.
Disciplinary Committee and the President erred.
- Impugned decision is set aside
- Complainant is to be restored with retroactive effect with grade and step she would have held with all legal consequences
- Pay Interest on the resulting remuneration at the rate of 5 per cent per annum
- Moral damages 25000 Euros
- Costs 8000 Euros
4043 – Brumme v. EPO
Malika was not guilty, so Ion was also not guilty (on the count of inciting Malika)
On the count of signing the contract with Mr. FC – staff union must be free to regulate its own activities. This is all the more so if it concerns the funding of the staff union. Whether the agreement was legal or not is upto the parties and not the EPO. There was nothing to suggest that either Ion or Mr. C had any concern about the contract’s legality. There is nothing untoward about a staff union providing funding to a staff member. The Complainant was therefore not guilty in signing the contract. No breach of confidentiality (same as Malika)
NO disciplinary sanction should have been imposed.
- Impugned decision is set aside.
- EPO shall reinstate the Complaint to the position he held immediately to the position he held before the dismissal with all the legal consequences. Any income earned by Ion during this period will be deducted.
- On the remaining arrears amount, EPO shall pay 5% interest.
- Moral damages 30000 Euros
- Costs 8000 Euros
Hardon No. 24 v. EPO
The Tribunal recalls that the burden of proof rests on an organization to prove allegations of misconduct beyond a reasonable doubt before imposing disciplinary measure.
The Disciplinary Committee did not apply the appropriate standard of proof, so its recommendation was tainted by an error of law. It cannot be assumed that the proper standard was applied.
Impugned decision is set aside.
No reinstatement is ordered.
Matter is remitted to the EPO to be considered afresh by a differently constituted Disciplinary Committee and applying proper standard of proof.
20000 Euros Moral damages
7000 Euros Costs