Human Resources Department: 2016 report on the settlement of disputes and discipline

Introduction

The Annual Report under Chapter VI (“Settlement of Disputes and Discipline”) of the Staff Rules and Regulations serves to report:

  • cases of submission of requests for review;
  • internal appeals;
  • complaints before the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILOAT); and
  • cases in which disciplinary action was taken.

Requests for review and internal appeals

Under Article S VI 1.01 of the Staff Rules, members of the personnel may challenge an administrative decision by the Director-General where it adversely affects the conditions of employment or association that derive from their contract or from the Staff Rules and Regulations.

If permitted by the Staff Rules and Regulations, a decision may be challenged internally within the Organization:

  • through a review procedure; or
  • through an internal appeal procedure. In this case, the Joint Advisory Appeals Board (JAAB) shall be consulted by the Director-General prior to taking any final decision on the merits.

Complaints before the ILOAT

A decision may be challenged externally by filing a complaint before the ILOAT:

  • when internal procedures have been exhausted and the decision is final or,
  • when an internal challenge is not permitted by the Staff Rules and Regulations.

Disciplinary Action

Under Article S VI 2.01 of the Staff Rules, the Director-General may take disciplinary action against members of the personnel who, whether intentionally or through carelessness, are guilty of a breach of the Staff Rules and Regulations or of misconduct that is to the detriment of the Organization.

Article S VI 2.02 of the Staff Rules stipulates that, having regard to the gravity of the breach or misconduct in question, the disciplinary action may be:

  • a warning;
  • a reprimand;
  • suspension without remuneration or pay for a period not exceeding six months,
  • loss of one or more steps (up to August 2016) / downward adjustment of the staff member’s salary (effective 1 Sept 2016);
  • demotion (effective 1 Sept 2016); or
  • dismissal.

The Director-General shall consult the Joint Advisory Disciplinary Board (JADB) prior to taking any disciplinary action other than a warning or a reprimand (Article S VI 2.04 of the Staff Rules) or dismissal under S VI 2.05.

In cases of particularly serious misconduct, the Director-General may decide to dismiss without notice and without consulting the JADB (Article S VI 2.05 of the Staff Rules).

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Requests for review

From 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016, there were two requests for review of administrative decisions taken by the Director-General.

  • One staff member requested a review of the decision to be placed on compulsory special leave, including a CERN-wide site ban, in the framework of an official investigation.

An internal review was carried out by the Human Resources Department and the Director-General decided to maintain the administrative decision, but to limit the applicability of the site ban to defined areas.

  • One staff member contested their pension entitlements under their staff member contract issued 15 years ago, claiming that their immediate prior employment by a CERN contractor should be taken into account in determining their pension entitlements.

An internal review carried out by the Human Resources Department found the request irreceivable.

 

Internal appeals

From 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016, 14 internal appeals were submitted to the Director-General.

  • One staff member challenged the decision not to recognize the occupational origin of their health condition. 

The Director-General decided to follow the Joint Advisory Appeals Board’s recommendation to confirm the Organization’s original decision.

  • One associated member of the personnel challenged the notification of termination of a contract of association with CERN. 

             This appeal was found irreceivable.

  • Eleven staff members introduced internal appeals against the decision taken by Council to modify the career structure and salary grid as a result of the five-yearly review of financial and social conditions; and their corresponding individual notifications regarding their position under the new structure.

These appeals have been temporarily suspended, by mutual agreement, pending the outcome of the 2017 MERIT exercise and the confirmation of staff members’ benchmark job title.

  • One former staff member lodged an appeal against the decision taken by the Manager of the CERN Health Insurance Scheme not to grant an ex-gratia benefit. This appeal is currently pending a report by the medical practitioner.

 

Complaints before the ILOAT

From 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016, CERN was not informed of any complaints by members of personnel filed before the ILOAT.

The ILOAT ruled in the Organization’s favour in a case filed by a former staff member, whose contract was terminated at the end of his probation period.

A series of cases filed against CERN, ESO and the CERN Pension Fund by an ESO staff member who sought recognition by the Fund of her registered partner were withdrawn, the matter having been resolved by the 2015 five-yearly review.

Warnings, reprimands and site bans:

In 2016, the Organization issued five warnings, 12 reprimands and one site ban:

  • Five warnings for breach of conduct concerned non-compliance with site access rules, such as using excessive speed or demonstrating discourteous behavior toward the security guards.
  • Nine reprimands for breach of conduct and for breach of the obligation to exercise reserve and tact, causing prejudice to the reputation of the Organization.
  • One reprimand for breach of conduct concerned the improper use of CERN facilities for personal purposes and, in so doing, exposing colleagues to inappropriate personal information. 
  • One reprimand for breach of conduct concerned the negligent failure to disclose information about their spouse’s income, as required under the CHIS rules.
  • One reprimand for breach of conduct concerned inappropriate behavior towards a colleague.
  • One permanent site ban was issued following an incident of theft of personal property on the CERN site.

The Joint Advisory Disciplinary Board (JADB):

From 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016, the JADB was convened to study three situations:

  • One resulted in a decision by the Director-General to follow the recommendation of the JADB to issue a reprimand for breach of conduct for the introduction of a prohibited item onto the CERN site.
  • Two ongoing matters concern alleged fraudulent declarations under the CERN Health Insurance Scheme.  The outcomes of these two matters are expected during the first quarter of 2017.

Dismissal notified during the probation period:

In 2016, two staff members were duly notified of the termination of their employment contracts due to insufficient performance during the probation period (as per Article S II 5.01 g of the Staff Rules).

Dismissal without notice:

In 2016, there were no dismissals from the Organization without notice (as per Article S VI 2.05 of the Staff Rules).

Human Resources Department