Pregnant Workers Not Entitled to Priority Treatment in Collective Redundancy Exercise

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

On February 22, 2018, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) found that the Pregnant Workers Directive (92/85/EEC) does not require pregnant workers be given priority treatment in a collective redundancy exercise. The Directive prohibits dismissals of pregnant employees during pregnancy and maternity leave, except in “exceptional cases” where the dismissal is unrelated to pregnancy. The CJEU found that a collective redundancy exercise met the exception, noting that EU law does not require that pregnant workers (or those who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding) be given special treatment, in terms of retention or redeployment, in a collective redundancy context.

Spanish Law Setting Dismissal Trigger Points for “Intermittent Sickness Absence” Potentially Indirectly Discriminatory

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

In examining a Spanish law that allowed employers to dismiss employees for intermittent sickness once those absences met certain thresholds, the CJEU found that the Spanish law was potentially indirectly discriminatory based on disability under the light of the Equal Treatment Framework Directive (2000/78/EC) because disabled workers were more likely to be absent than non-disabled workers, and therefore were at greater risk of dismissal under the law. Accepting that the legislative aim to combat absenteeism was legitimate, the Court noted that national courts would need to determine if the law was objectively justified and proportionate to this aim.