On 29 November 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its decision in Amaratunga c . Fisheries Organization Northwest Atlantic on the question of the application of the immunity of an international organization to managing employees of this organization. The Supreme Court concluded that international organizations enjoy immunity in case of appeal for wrongful dismissal established by a senior manager.
The appellant, Tissa Amaratunga, held a senior position within the Fisheries Organization Northwest Atlantic (the NAFO ) from 1988 to 2005 when he was dismissed. The appellant brought an action for wrongful dismissal against NAFO. In defense, NAFO claimed immunity, as an international organization under the Decree on the Privileges and Immunities of the Organization Fisheries Northwest Atlantic (the Decree on the immunity of the NAFO ) agreed with Canada and made by the Governor in Council under the Law on Foreign missions and international organizations . This decree gives the NAFO immunities under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations "to the extent that its duties require."
At trial, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has rejected the defense of immunity NAFO and concluded that the wrongful dismissal of the caller can be heard, including its use for the obtaining a separate payment under the regulations governing the staff of NAFO. The Court decided that NAFO had not shown that immunity against the use of the appellant was "necessary or essential" to the exercise of its functions.
NAFO has appealed this decision to appeal to the Court of Appeal of Nova Scotia, which has allowed the appeal.The Court concluded that the immunity conferred by the Decree on NAFO immunity protects it from the prosecution of the appellant. Specifically, it concluded that "the nature of actions for wrongful dismissal involves very important exams and depth of the employer-employee relationship" and that access to the application by the appellant in the circumstances, entail " inevitably an examination under the microscope core activities "of NAFO and constitute" interference in the autonomy "of it.
The Supreme Court of Canada heard the case March 28, 2013. She then had to decide on two (2) questions. The main question was whether the immunity from the jurisdiction conferred by Decree immunity NAFO NAFO applied in the circumstances. More specifically, the Court should analyze the interpretation of the words "to the extent that its duties require." If the Supreme Court concluded that NAFO enjoyed immunity with respect to claims of the appellant, it should then consider a second question, whether the immunity also applies to the claim of the appellant concerning specifically severance termination payable to him under the regulations governing personnel NAFO.
The Supreme Court allowed the appeal in part and concluded that, in the circumstances, the duties of NAFO required the application of immunity to it is "able to manage its employees, especially those in senior positions, in order to effectively perform its functions. " The Court stated that:
"Allowing lawsuits related to employment actions against NAFO its executives are heard by Canadian courts unjustifiably infringes the autonomy of NAFO in the exercise of its functions and return to its subject operations management supervision of institutions of the host state. "
However, with respect to the claim for obtaining a severance under the rules governing personal NAFO termination, the Supreme Court concluded that this claim does not infringe on the perform the duties of NAFO since it related only to the rules prescribed by the regulations governing the staff of NAFO, which provides for an allowance of termination shall be paid to any employee leaving his employment, regardless departure for any reason. The Court concluded that the application of this rule does not "would be to subject management operations NAFO monitoring of Canadian courts."
In this context, the Supreme Court came to the conclusion that even if immunity NAFO applied to the claims of the appellant's claim for severance pay under the Regulation on the NAFO staff should be treated separately.The matter was referred to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia that it decides on the claim.
In conclusion, international organizations having the same immunity that NAFO should not expect that this immunity applies to internal rules governing the rights of employees in the event of termination of employment.By cons, these organizations can expect that potential remedies for wrongful dismissal are covered by the immunity granted to them under an order made under the Act, foreign missions and international organizations .Finally, although this decision specifically addresses an action for wrongful dismissal, the principles adopted by the Supreme Court and the immunity conferred under the Act is not limited to claims for a relationship. The Supreme Court has confirmed that there is need to examine the wording of the decree granting immunity to determine whether a claim could be filed. Given the reasoning of the Supreme Court in this decision, there is reason to believe that immunity be granted when it involves various legal issues that are essential to the exercise of the functions of the organization concerned.