In Stelios Georgiou v 'Christou Steliou Ioannou' Foundation the Employment Court recently ruled on the grounds for termination of employment once the legal retirement age (as under the Social Insurance Law (41/80)) has been reached.
Following his retirement as director of primary education, the applicant was hired by the respondents for the position of director of the foundation. During the course of his employment he had also been part of the foundation's educational staff. The retirement age for all of the foundation's staff members, including the applicant, was 65 years old. When the applicant's employment was terminated by the respondents he was 67 years old.
After he was dismissed, the applicant filed an application before the court, requesting the payment of all salary owed to him, plus benefits, annual leave and the proportion of his 13th-month salary.
In response, the respondents raised two preliminary objections relating to the jurisdiction of the Employment Court to hear the application in question. The respondents first mentioned that the application had no basis in law or fact and that the applicant was not legally entitled to bring proceedings before the court, as he had already reached the legal retirement age of 65 before the date of his dismissal by the respondents. For this reason, the respondents argued that the applicant was not legally entitled to claim the requested remedies from the court. Furthermore, and as a result of the previous objection, the respondents stressed that the court lacked jurisdiction to try the application, as the applicant had already reached the legal retirement age of 65, and should reject the application (based on the provisions of the Termination of Employment Law (24/67)).
After hearing both parties, the court found that both the preliminary objections were correct. Therefore, based on the provisions of the Termination of Employment Law, the applicant was not entitled to claim remedies, as the court's jurisdiction is limited to cases in which the dismissed person is under the legal retirement age.
The court then considered whether another court had jurisdiction to try the case under Article 64A(2) of the Courts of Justice Law (14/1960), as amended. The Employment Court applied the principle of ubi jus ubi remedium (ie, the right to a remedy) and referred to the cases of Elias Elia v Marina Alonefti and Elbee Ltd, in which the Supreme Court rejected the suggestion that no court had jurisdiction, as that could mean that a citizen is deprived of his or her right of access to the court and therefore to justice. Therefore, in the event that a case does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Employment Court, the District Court has jurisdiction to hear the case.
Taking the above principle into account, as well as its own lack of jurisdiction into consideration, the Employment Court found that the Nicosia District Court had the jurisdiction to deal with the case. The proceedings were therefore paused and the case was referred to the Nicosia District Court for consideration.
For further information on this topic please contact George Z Georgiou at George Z Georgiou & Associates LLC by telephone (+357 22 763 340), fax (+357 22 763 343) or email ([email protected]).