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CJEU Case C-323/08 / Opinion

Ovido Rodríguez Mayor and Others v v Herencia yacente de Rafael de las Heras Dávila and Others

Policy area:
Employment and social policy
Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Advocate General
Decision date:

Key facts of the case:

Reference for a preliminary ruling: Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Madrid - Spain.
Reference for a preliminary ruling - Protection of workers - Collective redundancies - Directive 98/59/EC - Termination of contracts of employment as a result of the death of the employer.

Outcome of the case:

In the light of the foregoing considerations, I suggest that the Court give the following answers to the questions on which the Tribunal Superior de Justicia seeks a preliminary ruling:

  1. The concept of ‘redundancy’ used in Article 1 of Council Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies does not cover cases of termination of employment contracts brought about by the death of the owner of the undertaking, whose lawful heirs decline to accept his estate, where such death gives rise to complete cessation of business activity and no provision of the legal order of a Member State appoints a public authority to replace the employer and fulfil his obligations under the directive.
  2. Directive 98/59 merely provides for approximation of the laws of the Member States regarding collective redundancies in relation to the procedure to be followed in that regard, leaving rules on the compensation to be paid to workers as a matter exclusively for the Member States. The directive does not therefore preclude a provision of national law which, in the event of termination of an employment contract following the employer’s death, prescribes payment of a severance allowance which is lower than that which the worker would receive in the case of collective redundancy.
  3. Article 30 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers, given the general nature of the principles which they expound, cannot contribute to clarification of the scope of the redundancy procedures provided for by Directive 98/59, since those instruments contain no provisions relating to such procedures.