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Spain – Recruiter fined for unfair dismissal

18 September 2012

A Labour Court in Madrid has recently declared that the dismissal of a shop steward of a union was void, ordering Adecco who had employed the worker to pay €6,251 for the sacking and for causing “moral” damages.

The worker, who had been a union delegate since 2007, was working at the staffing firm but was subsequently fired in May this year. Adecco said the dismissal was justified on “objective” grounds.

The company said that the worker had lost its status as a union representative a year earlier, and argued the position was no longer open as the office where the worker had been employed had shut down in 2009. It therefore considered dismissing the worker on these “objective” grounds.  

But the union appealed the decision, taking the firm to court as it regarded the dismissal as unfair and motivated by “anti-union” sentiments.

The Judge, José Angel Folguera, said Adecco had provided a “bizarre” version on why it wanted to fire the worker. The judge ruled that the office where the said employee was working had shut down three years ago; the sudden dismissal in May 2012 was therefore not plausible. He criticised that Adecco could not prove the facts of why the firm fired the worker and said the dismissal letter was also showing inconsistencies.  

The judge ruled in favour of the employee, arguing that Adecco had violated the fundamental right of freedom to belong to an association, such as a union. He also ordered the company to reinstate the worker and pay compensation exceeding €6,000. 

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