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Date:
10 Feb 2011

a trainee lawyer who had been given notice of redundancy together with 314 other employees was not discriminated against for being on leave.

By:
Yvonne Frederiksen
A trainee lawyer who had been given notice of redundancy together with 314 other employees was not discriminated against for being on leave.
 
If an employer decides to dismiss an employee on leave, the employer will have to disprove discrimination if the matter ends up in court or before the Danish Board of Equal Treatment. If, on the other hand, the decision is made after the employee has returned, the employee will have to show that there is reason to believe the leave was a factor in the decision.
 
A trainee lawyer at a bank was given notice 1½ month after returning from parental leave. The bank was in the process of rationalising operations and had to let go of one-third of its employees.
 
The trainee lawyer was surprised. He had served longer and felt better qualified than the remaining employees. The bank, however, did not believe that a 1-year difference in length of service was significant. Also, the remaining employees had educational backgrounds that better matched the remaining jobs.
 
Criteria were okay
The Board started out by noting that the decision to dismiss the trainee lawyer had not been made until he had returned from leave and that the bank had had to shed a large number of employees.
 
The Board did not believe that there was reason to believe the bank had discriminated against the trainee lawyer for being on leave. He was let go – together with 314 other employees – because the bank had to rationalise operations.
 
Since the Board also found that the remaining employees had qualifications that were more relevant to the banking activities, it was satisfied that the bank was not guilty of discrimination under the Danish Act on Equal Treatment of Men and Women.

 

Norrbom Vinding notes

  • that this case illustrates that it will be difficult for employees to show that there is reason to believe they have been discriminated against if they are dismissed in a collective redundancy process and the remaining employees are better qualified.