In its decision in Psaras v The Republic of Cyprus, the Employment Tribunal held that an employer had failed to satisfy the burden of proof and that therefore former employee Kostas Psaras had been unfairly dismissed.

In his request before the tribunal, Psaras claimed compensation for a lack of notice before his dismissal and for non-payment of his annual leave. He requested either re-employment or compensation for loss of his future career. Psaras, a temporary warden at the Cyprus Central Prison, had had his employment terminated on the basis that he had violated his employment regulations.


Fourteen months earlier, Psaras had been arrested by the police of the Turkish-occupied area of Northern Cyprus. Following his arrest, Psaras was invited to a meeting with the prison director for investigation of a possible breach of conduct by Psaras. Two days later, he was dismissed. He immediately began proceedings against the decision.

The prison director then withdrew the decision and invited Psaras to resume his duties on the same terms for an indefinite period of time. The prison director subsequently reopened the investigation and dismissed Psaras for a second time six months later.

Following the second dismissal, a claim was brought by Psaras against his ex-employer before the Employment Tribunal on the grounds that his employment had been terminated illegally, in bad faith, without cause and without the necessary investigation. He further argued that the dismissal was a product of delusion and deception contrary to the law and employment regulations and in violation of his legal and constitutional rights. He argued that it had been made following a legally unsound decision-making process.

The burden of proof rested on the defendant to prove that Psaras had been reasonably dismissed.

The defendant alleged that the dismissal was lawful as:

  • Psaras had failed to execute his work in a reasonably satisfactory manner;
  • he had committed a serious breach of conduct; and
  • his behaviour was such that it did not warrant the continuation of his employment in view of the nature of his duties.


Article 5 of the Termination of Employment Law (24/67) establishes the grounds on which an employer may dismiss an employee lawfully, and therefore without notice or payment of compensation. In its argument, the defendant relied on one of the grounds listed in Article 5(f) of the law. These include reasons related to the employee's behaviour in a way that justifies his or her dismissal (eg, intentional disobedience or disregard of substantial terms of employment).

However, there is an additional requirement in Article 5(e), which provides that the employer must exercise its pre-mentioned right to dismiss an employee based on reasons related to its behaviour only within a reasonable time from the event that gave rise to the said right, or it will be presumed that the employer has forfeited the right to dismiss the employee. The tribunal held that an employer would not have dismissed Psaras in these particular circumstances.

Furthermore, the members of the tribunal unanimously found that the defendant had not managed to satisfy the burden of proof, and had consequently failed to prove on the basis of objective criteria any reason under Articles 5(e) and (f) of the law that would have excused the immediate termination of the employment.

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