César Navarro Helena Monzón April 27 2022 Health and safety committee representative does not have same guarantees as workers' representative in event of dismissal CMS Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo | Employment & Immigration - Spain César Navarro, Helena Monzón Employment & Immigration In a 9 December 2021 judgment, the Supreme Court settled an issue concerning whether a worker who represented their employer on a health and safety committee had the same guarantees in the event of dismissal as workers' representatives. These guarantees allow dismissed employees to file a statement of defence and give them the option of being reinstated or having the employment relationship terminated in the event of unfair dismissal.In the case at hand, an employee was dismissed for misconduct while acting as the company representative on the company's health and safety committee.The employee challenged the dismissal because they believed that they had the same guarantees in the event of dismissal as the workers' representatives, meaning that the company should have given them the opportunity to file a statement of defence prior to being dismissed for misconduct. The employee also believed that, in the event that the dismissal was declared unfair, they had the right to choose between reinstatement or compensation.The Labour Court declared the dismissal unfair but ruled that the employee did not enjoy the privileges of workers' representatives. The employee appealed this ruling but was dismissed; therefore, he lodged an extraordinary appeal for the unification of doctrine.In its ruling, the Supreme Court stated that the guarantees established in favour of the workers' legal representatives in the Workers' Statute were intended to guarantee the free exercise of their powers, protecting them from employer reprisals. In other words, the purpose of these guarantees is to prevent the representatives from suffering additional harm as a result of the independent nature and activism of their functions, which may lead to conflicts with the employer.However, the Supreme Court pointed out that the legal system does not provide that employees who represent the employer on the health and safety committee enjoy these guarantees. In this regard, the Supreme Court stated that the employee was appointed as a member of the health and safety committee to represent the company and defend its interests. Therefore, this role was not conditioned by fear of reprisals by the employer. Ultimately, there was no risk that the employee might suffer harm as a result of carrying out duties with regard to the employer, as they defended company interests.Based on the above reasons, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for the unification of doctrine filed by the employee and upheld the appeal judgement.For further information on this topic please contact César Navarro or Helena Monzón at CMS Albiñana & Suarez de Lezo by telephone (+34 91 451 9300) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The CMS Albiñana & Suarez de Lezo website can be accessed at www.cms.law.