Article 20 - Equality before the law
Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded by ETUC, UNICE and CEEP — Consequences of a disciplinary dismissal found to be ‘unfair’ — Definition of ‘working conditions’ — Temporary worker with a contract of indefinite duration — Difference in treatment between permanent workers and temporary workers with a fixed-term contract or contract of indefinite duration — Reinstatement of the worker or granting of compensation.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Sixth Chamber) hereby rules:
Clause 4(1) of the framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded on 18 March 1999, which is annexed to Council Directive 1999/70/EC of 28 June 1999 concerning the framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded by ETUC, UNICE and CEEP, must be interpreted as not precluding national legislation, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, according to which, when the disciplinary dismissal of a permanent worker in the service of a public authority is declared wrongful, the worker in question must be reinstated, whereas, in the same situation, a worker employed under a temporary contract or a temporary contract of indefinite duration performing the same duties as that permanent worker need not be reinstated but instead may receive compensation.
1) This request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Clause 4(1) of the framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded on 18 March 1999 (‘the Framework Agreement’), which is annexed to Council Directive 1999/70/EC of 28 June 1999 concerning the framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded by ETUC, UNICE and CEEP (OJ 1999 L 175, p. 43), and the interpretation of Article 20 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’).
18) In those circumstances, the Juzgado de lo Social No 2 de Terrassa (Social Court No 2, Terrassa) decided to stay the proceedings and to refer the following questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling: ‘In the context of a challenge to a disciplinary dismissal of a worker considered to be employed under a contract that is of indefinite duration but not permanent in the service of the public authorities,
20) It must be noted, as a preliminary remark, that, inasmuch as the principle of equality before the law established in Article 20 of the Charter has, as regards fixed-term workers, been implemented at EU level by Directive 1999/70, and in particular by Clause 4 of the Framework Agreement which is annexed to that directive, the situation at issue in the main proceedings must be examined in the light of that directive and the Framework Agreement.