The Supreme Court judgment in the Alstom case

In the ALSTOM case, the judgment of the Supreme Court (No 3-2-1-80-15) dated 21 September 2015 deals with how to make a claim for employment litigation costs. In addition, the judgment explains the damages that can be claimed in cases where the employee has not been allowed to work because the employer has been unable to provide work to the employee.

Litigation costs arising from proceedings before the Commission can be claimed back

A claim arising from an employment dispute can be heard either by a court or a labour dispute commission (“the Commission”). Claims befoe the Commision are limited to EURO 10,000. Proceedings heard by the Commission are less complicated than those heard by the court, and the state fee does not have to be paid in respect of proceedings before the Commission.

Although proceedings before the Commission are similar to court proceedings, a special procedure is used to resolve disputes through the application of the Individual Labour Dispute Resolution Act. Within 30 days of a decision being given by the Commission, it can be appealed and thereafter heard by the court. The majority of cases are resolved by the Commission without the need for appeal. The Commission’s decision has the same legal weight as a judgment from the court.

Litigation costs in court proceedings are granted to the successful party. Litigation costs in proceedings before the Commission are not dealt with by the Commission. The Supreme Court has explained in the case of Alstom that costs incurred during proceedings before the Commission can be awarded by the court, if the decision of the Commission is appealed and the case proceeds to be heard by the court.

In cases before the Commission where the employee is successful and the decision is not appealed, the employee can claim their litigation costs as damages under a separate action which would need to be issued in court (explained in earlier case No 2-10-41595).

An employee cannot issue a claim for moral damages if the employer fails to provide the employee with work

The hours of work an employee is entitled to work are meant be agreed in the employment contract. If the employer violates the obligation to provide the employee with agreed hours of work and gives clear instructions in a timely manner that there will be no work for the employee, the employee is entitled to claim their average salary during the period they were ready to work but the work was not available. In addition, as explained by the Supreme Court in the Alstom case, in situations where the employee is not provided with work, they can claim compensation for legal costs but cannot claim compensation for moral damages.