Saturday 19 May 2018

International Lost-judgements Organization

The 125th session of the ILOAT published in January was so successful for the EPO that Laurent Germond, Director Employment Law, published a glowing report on the EPO intranet.

The report opens with judgment 3971: "Ensuring the well-functioning of the EPO Internal Appeals Committee (former IAC)"

Laurent Germond continues:
"In Judgement No 3971, the Tribunal confirmed the decision of the President to discipline for serious misconduct and to downgrade a former member of the ApC, Mr A.P., appointed by the Central Staff Committee, who obstructed the work of the Committee. The Tribunal considered in particular that "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." "

The text of judgment 3971 can be found here:

Märpel notes that Mr. Germond knows the jurisprudence of AT-ILO as he wrote his thesis and a book on the subject. He therefore cannot ignore that AT-ILO used to balance the interests of the employers with the particular needs for protection of the staff representatives. If you have a copy of Laurent Germond's "Les principes généraux selon le tribunal administratif de l'O.I.T", check pages 160-170. He therefore should be surprised of the stark departure from that jurisprudence in that judgment.

The events concerning Mr Aurelien Petiaud are known from all the EPO. They took place in 2014. At the time, Mr Petiaud found it necessary to protest the way the appeal committee was run under President Battistelli's orders. It was run as a purely rubber-stamping affair and since the members chosen by staff were in minority, cases were lost. Mr Petiaud protested and took a courageous decision: on each case he took the time to write a minority opinion (see judgment point 16), thereby documenting the malfunctioning of the committee.

President Battistelli was not amused and simply increased the workload to a point where there was no time to write these opinions and still attend the sessions. Mr Petiaud refused and publicly explained why he took that decision, in agreement with SUEPO. To all EPO staff, it was clear that this was a political message and not a refusal to carry out his duties.

But AT-ILO found differently. Märpel may only wonder at what the "L" in "ILO" stands for. It used to stand for "labour".


Anonymous said...

On the 30-09-2014, VP4 Topic & VP5 Lutz published on the EPO intranet the communiqué “Functoning of the settlement of disputes system”.

The communiqué explains the alleged misconducts of IAC's members nominated by the Central staff Committee (CSC):

“ (...)
CSC appointees are putting artficial hurdles to the daily functioning of the IAC. e.g. providing minority views by documents redoing the opinion, thus duplicating the work already done.
Two of the CSC appointees are repetitive appelants with more than 20 cases pending which leads to excessive discussions on impartiality.

It appears from the communiqué that the misconduct of A.P. & M. L. is “providing minority opinion” and “being themselves appelants with pending cases”.
As we can see, the complains from the EPO management were purely politic.
The purpose was clearly to destroy the independence of the IAC and to avoid minority opinions in favour of staff.

The ILOAT judges did not mention the existence of the communiqué in their judgement.

How could a staff member win a case if the ILOAT judges systematically hide part of the facts?

Permel said...

Thank you for that comment, Märpel will come back to it in a future article.