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Notice of dismissal served during sick leave

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  • Case: 1519/2011/AN
    Opened on 31 Aug 2011 - Decision on 06 May 2013
  • Institution(s) concerned: Council of the European Union
  • Field(s) of law: Common Foreign and Security Policy
  • Types of maladministration alleged – (i) breach of, or (ii) breach of duties relating to: Lawfulness (incorrect application of substantive and/or procedural rules) [Article 4 ECGAB]
  • Subject matter(s): Execution of contracts
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Summary of the decision on complaint 1519/2011/AN against the Council of the European Union

The complainant used to work for the EU military mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina 'EUFOR Althea'. The said mission served him with a notice of termination of his employment contract, and allowed the notice period to run, while he was on sick leave.

The Ombudsman's inquiry showed that, by acting in such a manner, EUFOR Althea breached the complainant's rights of defence. Moreover, since he was on unpaid sick leave when the notice period began to run, he was deprived of part of the income which, in accordance with EUFOR's staff rules, he was entitled to before dismissal. The Ombudsman made a friendly solution proposal to the Council of the European Union, suggesting that EUFOR Althea consider paying the relevant amount to the complainant.

In its reply to the Ombudsman's friendly solution proposal, the Council stated that it was not competent to deal with the present case and that the proposal should be addressed to the Operation Commander directly. Out of courtesy and with the aim of assisting the Ombudsman in his inquiry, the Council forwarded the Ombudsman's friendly solution proposal to the Operation Commander for reply.

The Operation Commander agreed with the Ombudsman that EUFOR breached the complainant's rights of defence when handling his case. It therefore accepted the Ombudsman's friendly solution proposal.

The Ombudsman welcomed the Operation Commander's acceptance of his friendly solution proposal, which settled the complaint. He thanked the Council for acting as a bridge between the Ombudsman and the Operation Commander and took note of its suggestion to address the Operation Commander directly, which the Ombudsman will follow in future cases concerning military missions. Finally, the Ombudsman recalled that the general issue of who is responsible for instances of maladministration in the activities of missions created in third countries under the auspices of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy forms the subject matter of an ongoing own-initiative inquiry.