HR Consultancy

Companies in financial difficulty: Opportunity for employees to take over companies in financial difficulty

Employees of companies in financial difficulty will be able to carry on the business of the company through advance payment of social security payments to which they are entitled. In cases of lease or sale of companies, parts of business or assets and contracts of companies subject to bankruptcy, arrangement with creditors or compulsory winding-up, cooperative societies made up by employees of the same companies shall have the pre-emption right for the lease or purchase of the company.

If the employees enter into partnership using a cooperative vehicle, they may carry on the business of the company in which they were hired.

Article 11 of Decree no. 145/2013 , converted into Law no. 9/2014

Apprenticeship: Withdrawal from apprenticeship contract does not follow “Fornero’s proceedings”

Withdrawal from an apprenticeship contract cannot be challenged using the so-called “Fornero’s proceedings” but shall follow the rules of an ordinary hearing. The Civil Court of Rome stated there Fornero’s special proceedings does not apply to the notice of withdrawal or for the expiry of the term of the apprenticeship contract as this is not one of the cases provided for under Article 18 of the Workers’ Statute (Law no. 300/1970). Article 1, paragraph 48 of Fornero’s Law (Law no. 92/2012) provides that the summary procedure applies to all lawsuits that relate to the appeal of dismissals, provided that they are ruled by Article 18 of the Workers’s Statute.

Civil Court of Rome, 5 March 2014

Key proposals contained in Renzi’s “Job Act”

Renzi’s Job Act provides for various measures relating to the labour market:

  • Bolstering of apprenticeship contracts;
  • Fixed-term contracts without consideration to be no more than 36 months;
  • Introduction of new contract with increased rights that carves out protection under Article 18 of the Workers’ Statute (Law no. 300/1970) (i.e. reintegration into the workplace) and replaces it with an indemnity determined on the basis of the number of months worked. It could be applied to the first employment relationship, the long-term unemployed, the young people;
  • Elimination of social security contributions for apprenticeship contracts;
  • Introduction of a universal unemployment benefit for a maximum duration of two years (with gradually decreasing amounts). It would extend its scope to project workers, currently excluded. The budget for these changes is estimated at between €2 and 3bn.

Litigation and dispute management

New parameters for calculation of attorney fees in contentious and non-contentious matters

On 10 March 2014, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Orlando, passed a new regulation setting out the parameters for calculating lawyers’ fees (and right to reimbursement of expenses) in contentious and non-contentious matters (both in civil and criminal cases) where the lawyer and client have not entered into an agreement. The new parameters will be effective for calculation of fees occurring after the publication of this regulation in the Official Gazette.

Public procurement

Use of template prepared by the Administration in a public tender

A public entity may lawfully admit a bidder to a public tender should the latter use and submit information through a template (in the case at hand the one prepared by the Administration to send through a curriculum vitae) different than the one attached to the letter of invitation to the bid. The use of a different template cannot lead to the exclusion of the bidder.

Administrative Court of Piemonte, 21 February 2014, no. 336

Financial Services Dispute Investigations

International banks acquitted of mis-selling derivatives to the City of Milan

The Court of Appeal of Milan has overturned the decision in case no. 13976/12 against four international banks: JP Morgan, UBS, Deutsche Bank and Depfa Bank of mis-selling derivatives to the City of Milan and found that fraud was not committed by the banks because the alleged fraudulent acts did not exist. The banks appealed against a landmark verdict from December 2012 ordering the seizure of € 90 million, fines of € 1 million for each of the banks, pursuant to administrative liability under Legislative Decree no. 231/2001, and convictions of fraud of the employees involved. The grounds for this decision will be set out in the full judgment which will be handed down in 90 days (from 7 March 2014). The prosecution will then have the opportunity to consider appealing this decision to the Supreme Court.

Court of Appeal of Milan, 7 March 2014, no. 3981

Competition, EU and regulatory

The Italian Competition Authority accepts Ferrovie dello Stato’s remedies in high-speed rail passenger transport abuse of dominance case

According to the Italian Competition Authority (ICA), the remedies submitted by Ferrovie dello Stato holding and its subsidiaries (FS, RFI, Trenitalia, Grandi Stazioni, Centostazioni and FS Sistemi Urbani) are likely to remove the competition concerns raised in the former decision of 22 May 2013 to investigate into a possible exclusionary conduct carried out by FS in the markets of access to railway infrastructure, management of advertising spaces in the rail station premises and high-speed rail passenger transport. Such remedies are aimed at enhancing access conditions to railway infrastructure and provide its competitor, Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori S.p.A, with an extensive use of rail station premises for advertising purposes.

Italian Competition Authority, Decision published on 12 March 2014

Corporate

Legislative Decree 231/2001 Organizational Model for SMEs

As of 13 February 2014, SMEs can put in place simplified versions of Organizational Models. Companies will need to have less than 250 employees and an annual turnover of less than €50m to qualify as SMEs. This will allow SMEs to mitigate EHS risks as afforded to larger companies under Lgs. Decree 231/2001.

Environment

Shale Gas: Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) not mandatory for shale gas projects in Europe

The European Parliament has approved a preliminary bill of update to the EIA legislation. Conventional oil & gas extraction will be more tightly regulated, whereas shale gas has not been included in the list so far. In any event shale gas projects must take account of “risks to health arising from water contamination, use of the earth and water in terms of regeneration of the water table”. The final approval of the bill is due in the next few weeks. Although it is still uncertain whether shale gas projects as such will be out of the EIA, this could be interpreted as a sign of the political attitude towards shale gas in Europe.