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Decision in case 1641/2015/ZA on the European Personnel Selection Office’s refusal to allow the complainant to apply under two concurrent competitions for recruiting translators and failure to explain the reasons for applying this practice

Úterý | 17 července 2018

The case concerned the European Personnel Selection Office’s (`EPSO`) practice of not permitting candidates to apply for more than one concurrent recruitment competition for EU civil servants even where they fulfilled the criteria. EPSO refused to allow the complainant to apply under two concurrent competitions for recruiting translators for the EU institutions, and failed to convincingly explain the reasons for applying this practice.

The Ombudsman found that this practice could have the consequence of hindering the recruitment of the most qualified persons and that, accordingly, EPSO should be able to provide convincing reasoning as to why it has this practice. The Ombudsman found that EPSO´s failure to provide such reasoning to the complainant constituted maladministration. She found also that any continuation of the practice, in the absence of solid reasoning, would necessarily also constitute maladministration. The Ombudsman therefore recommended to EPSO that it immediately review its policy in relation to this practice.

In response, EPSO set up an internal reflection group to conduct a detailed impact assessment of any policy change in this area. The assessment will be presented to EPSO's Management Board by December 2018. The Board must take the final decision. As EPSO is acting on her recommendation, the Ombudsman has decided to close the case.

Decision in case 515/2016/JAP on the European Asylum Support Office’s probationary assessment of a temporary agent

Pátek | 28 dubna 2017

The case concerned the assessment of the probationary period of a temporary agent at the European Asylum Support Office (‘EASO’). The complainant, who was dismissed at the end of her probationary period, argued that there were a number of procedural shortcomings in her assessment. Moreover, the EASO failed to reply to her complaints made under the EU Staff Regulations.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and requested the EASO to reply to the complaints. She found that the EASO had taken the necessary steps to ensure an impartial assessment of the complainant’s probationary period and had respected the complainant’s right to be heard before taking the final decision on her further employment. The Ombudsman thus closed the case.

Decision in case 2033/2015/ZA on the European Personnel Selection Office’s (EPSO) handling of a request for review of a language proficiency exam

Středa | 14 prosince 2016

EU officials are required to demonstrate the ability to work in a third language before their first promotion. When the complainant, who works in an EU Agency, failed a language proficiency exam in his third language, he asked EPSO to give him reasons for the relatively low grade in the writing test of the exam and also inform him of possible review mechanisms. In his view, EPSO’s explanations concerning his grade seemed inconsistent, while its initial reply about review possibilities was incorrect. Following the complainant’s insistence, EPSO agreed to reassess his writing test. The second evaluator confirmed the initial grade.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue. She examined the complainant’s test, as well as the assessments of the two evaluators. The Ombudsman did not find any manifest error or indications of partiality in the assessment of the complainant’s writing test. Concerning the erroneous information about the review possibilities, EPSO recognised its mistake and apologised to the complainant. The Ombudsman did not consider that further inquiries were necessary and closed the case. However, she made a suggestion for improvement concerning the information given to participants in language proficiency tests about the procedure and their review/appeal rights.

Decision in case 629/2015/ANA concerning the decision of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) not to establish a temporary agent at the end of the probationary period

Pondělí | 11 července 2016

The case concerned the decision of the ECDC to terminate the contract of a temporary agent at the end of a probationary period.

The Ombudsman conducted an inquiry into the matter and took the view that, in general terms, the explanations given by the ECDC about its decision not to retain the complainant in employment at the end of the probationary period were reasonable.

However, the Ombudsman considered that the ECDC had failed to make clear to the complainant, in good time, (a) that the problems identified in the Newcomers' Evaluation Dialogue were so serious as to warrant the termination of the complainant's contract, (b) the areas in which he needed to improve, through a specific and clear Action Plan. The failure to do so constituted maladministration. Moreover, the Ombudsman considers that, in circumstances in which an EU body does not have enough time to evaluate properly the work of a temporary agent, or where the temporary agent has not had an adequate opportunity to correct deficiencies in his or her performance, it would be good administration to examine if "exceptional circumstances" justifying the extension of the probationary period exist. As there is no evidence in the file that the ECDC seriously examined the option of extending the complainant's probation period, the Ombudsman made a corresponding suggestion for improvement for the future. Finally, given that it is good administration to apologise for any bad practice, the Ombudsman believes that the ECDC should acknowledge its mistakes in dealing with this case and apologise to the complainant for these mistakes.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 2041/2014/DK against the European Commission regarding transfer of pension rights

Středa | 25 května 2016

The case concerned the Commission's decision to change its original proposal on the transfer in of the complainant's pension rights, acquired in the UK pension scheme, into the EU pension scheme.

The Commission argued that it was required to change its original proposal as it had been based on General Implementing Provisions which were already out of date at the time its proposal was made. The Commission's revised proposal, which was less favourable to the complainant, was based on the revised General Implementing Provisions actually in place at the date of the original proposal. The complainant argued that the Commission should honour its first proposal that he had already accepted.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the General Court had ruled that the Commission was not legally required to make proposals on the transfer in of pension rights acquired outside of the EU pension scheme and that, in fact, an actual determination of the worth of such transferred pension rights could be given only after the transfer had been made. In fact, this was a practice established by the Commission simply to better inform its officials about what they could expect once they actually decided to request the transfer in of their pension rights into the EU pension scheme.

The Ombudsman therefore closed the complaint with a conclusion that there was no maladministration by the Commission.

Afgørelse i sag 45/2015/PMC - Kroky Evropského úřadu pro boj proti podvodům v souvislosti se zprávou oznamovatele

Úterý | 11 srpna 2015

Případ se týkal kroků úřadu OLAF po obdržení zprávy oznamovatele spojující Evropskou agenturu pro bezpečnost letectví (EASA) s údajným zmanipulováním zprávy o inspekci v oblasti bezpečnosti letectví. Po předběžném posouzení veřejnou ochránkyni znepokojilo, že úřad OLAF podle všeho rozhodl případ zamítnout a vrátit věc zpět agentuře EASA nehledě na skutečnost, že oznamovatel se vědomě rozhodl podat zprávu raději úřadu OLAF než agentuře EASA. Veřejná ochránkyně práv zaujala předběžné stanovisko, že takové rozhodnutí by mohlo mít celkově nepříznivý dopad na účinnost ustanovení o whistleblowingu. Proto se rozhodla věc prošetřit.

Po nahlédnutí do spisů úřadu OLAF veřejná ochránkyně práv zjistila, že úřad náležitě zvážil, zda zahájit vyšetřování. Rovněž se ukázalo, že úřad OLAF případ ve skutečnosti neuzavřel, ale požádal agenturu EASA o prošetření dané věci a o předložení zprávy o výsledcích jejího vyšetřování. Úřad OLAF si dále vyhradil právo zahájit formální šetření později. Na tomto základě veřejná ochránkyně práv shledala, že úřad OLAF se zprávou oznamovatele předloženou stěžovatelem naložil náležitým způsobem. Veřejná ochránkyně práv poznamenala, že úřad OLAF měl stěžovatele výslovněji informovat o tom, že předání věci agentuře EASA neznamená, že se jí úřad OLAF nehodlá dále zabývat. V tomto ohledu učinila další poznámku.

Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiries into complaints 26/2011/DK and 1307/2012/DK against the European External Action Service

Čtvrtek | 04 června 2015

The case concerned the complainant's dismissal as a member of staff in a European Union Police Mission, and his subsequent request to have access to the documents contained in his personal file.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the complainant's dismissal was legal. However, she also found that the Mission should have waited for the completion of the internal review process, which actually dealt with the complainant's situation, before dismissing the complainant. The Ombudsman therefore considered it appropriate to ask the European External Action Service (EEAS), in a proposal for a solution, to offer the complainant an ex gratia payment in recognition of the errors made by the Mission. The EEAS accepted the proposal and offered to make an ex gratia payment of EUR 2000.The complainant did not accept the offer. The Ombudsman considered that the amount offered by the EEAS was appropriate and that there were therefore no grounds for further inquiries into this aspect of the case.

As regards the complainant's access to his personal file, the Ombudsman found that there had not been any maladministration on the part of the EEAS.

Whistleblowing

Pondělí | 02 března 2015

Afgørelse i sag OI/1/2014/PMC - Pouze dvě instituce EU přijaly požadovaná pravidla týkající se whistleblowingu

Čtvrtek | 26 února 2015

Od 1. ledna 2014 jsou instituce EU povinny zavést vnitřní pravidla pro whistleblowing, která upravují ochranu oznamovatelů, poskytování informací oznamovatelům a postupy pro řešení jejich stížností ohledně způsobu, jakým se s nimi zachází. Aby se zajistilo, že správní orgány EU dělají vše pro to, aby podpořily osoby, které zjistí nějaké závažné porušení úřední povinnosti nebo protiprávní jednání, v ohlášení tohoto zjištění, zahájila veřejná ochránkyně práv šetření z vlastního podnětu zaměřené na Evropský parlament, Evropskou komisi, Radu Evropské unie, Soudní dvůr Evropské unie, Evropský účetní dvůr, Evropskou službu pro vnější činnost, Evropský hospodářský a sociální výbor, Výbor regionů a evropského inspektora ochrany údajů.

Výsledky šetření představovaly pro veřejnou ochránkyni práv zklamání, jelikož se ukázalo, že požadovaná pravidla zatím přijaly pouze dvě z devíti uvedených institucí. Odpovědi institucí ukazují, že je třeba vyvinout mnohem větší úsilí, aby se veřejnosti a potenciálním oznamovatelům dokázalo, že instituce EU whistleblowing vítají a že oznamovatele podporují v tom, aby svá zjištění ohlásili, že je budou chránit před nepříznivými reakcemi instituce, pro níž pracují, a že jejich oznámení povede k řádnému vyšetřování. Veřejná ochránkyně práv tedy případ uzavřela s pokyny pro další zlepšení a podpořila dotčené instituce, aby se snažily co nejdříve dokončit své diskuse na interinstitucionální úrovni a brát si při nich příklad z interních pravidel pro whistleblowing platných v úřadě veřejné ochránkyně práv. Veřejná ochránkyně práv rovněž uděluje pochvalu Komisi a Účetnímu dvoru za to, že v této otázce pokročily tak daleko.