Assignment of Work to an Employee in a Frivolous Manner (Decision of the Supreme Court from 21 January 2015, file no. 21 Cdo 815/2013)

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According to the Supreme Court, an employer cannot assign work to the employee if it aims to punish the employee for exercising the employee’s rights in court; such work assignment is considered as frivolous.

This applies also in cases when the work assignment is in accordance with the employment contract and legal regulation. In the mentioned dispute the employer (high school teacher) demanded declaration of invalidity of the dismissal from employment. The employer dismissed the employee because of unexcused absences on certain lessons.

However, these lessons were assigned to the employee even though he had no corresponding qualifications. In fact, the employee was assigned with these new lessons after he had already been successful in supporting his claim against the employer with the court by invalidating another dismissal.

The Supreme Court ruled that even though the teaching of “new” lessons (mechanical engineering, mechanical components and the like) might fall under the scope of work agreed in the employment contract (high school teacher), it is necessary to consider other circumstances. Such noticeable change of work assignment as in this case (from the original teaching of English language) requires a review in order to determine if the employer’s conduct in its entirety and logical consequence cannot be perceived as hidden punishing of the employee.

The Supreme Court concluded that assignment of work for which the employee has no corresponding qualification could represent such hidden punishing of the employee for exercising the employee’s rights against the employer in the past.