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Friday, 30 May 2014

Out-of-Court Settlement in Case of Illegal Termination of Employment Contract

M. G. addressed Praxis for legal assistance in March 2014 after the employer I. S. B. d.o.o. delivered to him the decision on termination of the employment contract for definite period of time.

M. G.  has been employed with this employer through the Youth Association since 2011 as a utility worker. Being in a difficult life situation and one and a half years after the responsible work at the employer’s, in August 2012 M. G. pleaded to be employed for an indefinite period of time or to conclude the employment contract for a definite period of time. At the moment of submitting the plea, M.G. lived in a family household of 16 members, in which only he made regular income, while other household members who are able to work were either unemployed or earned for living by collecting waste material and doing seasonal jobs. The employer accepted the plea, and in July 2013 the employer concluded the employment contract with M. G. for a definite period of time.

In September 2013, M. G. hurt his left index finger during his regular working time while taking the waste away. His finger was partly amputated when he received the medical assistance.

Soon after the injury at work, the employer decided to terminate M.G’s employment contract. Praxis sent the notice of originating motion to the employer for the illegal termination of the employment contract aimed at reaching the agreement and possibly returning M. G. to work without addressing the court. M.G’s employment contract was terminated earlier, even though it was a contract with the precisely defined period of employment up to 3 July 2014.  Since the employer ignored the motion, in April 2014 a lawsuit was filed for determining the illegality of the termination of the employment contract and returning of the employee to work.

Only after initiating a court procedure did the employer react by delivering the motion for out-of-court settlement by which M. G. was offered cash compensation. Since he was satisfied with what he was offered, M. G. gave up on the request for return to work and decided to use the given amount to start his own business.

Even though M. G’s case was solved by reaching an agreement, there is no doubt that the employer’s acting in this case is yet another example showing that persons of Roma nationality are one of the most marginalized groups in the labour market. This situation that they work in the utility companies through youth associations and then receive successive contracts on employment for a definite period of time of six months or a year is not rare and often lasts for years. In the meantime, the employees continuously face uncertainty with regard to a durable work engagement.

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