A company gave notice of termination based on objective grounds (shortage of work) to a number of employees, a few of whom had a priority right to re-employment. During the period in which the priority right was in force, the company chose instead to satisfy their temporary need for workers by using staff from an employment agency. All three workers engaged from the employment agency were former employees of the employer. However, only one of them would have been entitled to the assignment if the employer had followed the priority rules. The question for the Labour Court was whether the company had circumvented the former employees’ priority right to re-employment.

In its ruling, the court confirmed that a decision to fill its need for workers by using staff from an employment agency during a period in which former employees had a statutory right to re-employment was in general not in conflict with the priority rules. However, that would not be so if the circumstances in the individual case were shown to be improper. The court ruled that it was not suggested that the company’s purpose for using the services of the employment agency was to avoid the priority rules or that the company had acted in an improper way.