In Sotos Koullouros ν Ministry of Education and Culture, the applicant filed a claim before the Employment Court requesting the following remedies:
- a court order stating that his employment was for an indefinite duration from the date on which he completed 30 months of employment;
- the applicant's retroactive reappointment to the same role and with the same duties prior to the illegal termination of his employment;
- payment of all rights – including wages, benefits and other allowances – for the period in which the applicant remained without work; and
- a written contract of indefinite duration signed from the date that the applicant completed 30 months of employment.
The applicant worked on a temporary basis at public second-level technical schools for various periods from September 25 2003. He argued that he had carried out the same job with the same duties for the same employer on successive fixed-term contracts for over 30 months and therefore his employment contract should be indefinite.
The respondent challenged the applicant's claims arguing, that he had been employed as a substitute teacher between 2011 and 2012. Further, the respondent alleged that there were objective reasons why the applicant had been employed on a fixed-term rather than a contract of indefinite duration. The respondent rejected the applicant's claims and asked the court to reject the application and award costs against the applicant.
The Employment Court held that the applicant had worked for the respondent at the same location and with the same duties on a temporary basis under successive fixed-term employment contracts from March 25 2003 until August 28 2011, and then from May 11 2012 until present, with intermittent pauses. As of August 31 2006 the applicant had worked for the respondents for over 30 months and when the court application was submitted he had been employed by the respondent for eight years. Therefore, the applicant was eligible to be regarded as a permanent employee.
The court also found that the applicant had been hired to fulfil a fixed and permanent need, which the respondent chose to cover via successive fixed-term contracts, thus depriving the applicant of stable employment for no particular reason.
As a result, the only remedy available to the applicant was the transformation of successive fixed-term contracts into a contract for an indefinite period following his reinstatement to his former role.
For further information on this topic please contact George Z Georgiou at George Z Georgiou & Associates LLC by telephone (+357 22 763 340) or email ([email protected]). The George Z Georgiou & Associates website can be accessed at www.gzg.com.cy.