An increase in litigation and collective action lawsuits


Cuatrecasas holds a breakfast information session to study the most important labor-related resolutions of 2017
Cuatrecasas holds a breakfast information session to study the most important labor-related resolutions of 2017

Under the title “New criteria in the courts on email monitoring and other labor-related matters,” the law firm Cuatrecasas held a breakfast session this morning at its Madrid office to study the most important resolutions of 2017 in the labor and employment field.


In the words of Francisco Conde, a Cuatrecasas Labor and Employment Practice partner and speaker at the session, one of the main conclusions of the event was that "in the past year the importance of litigation and collective action lawsuits has increased.” Conde went on to explain that this circumstance occurs in the first place “due to the strengthened role of the Labor Division of the National High Court” and also the “new areas of responsibility that procedural rules confer on that division.”


Conde, together with two other Labor and Employment partners, Valentín García e Ignacio Jabato, presented the main conclusions of 12 especially important rulings involving cases that included trade union sections and rights, the principle of correspondence in collective agreements, decisions on temporary redundancy plans, collective dismissals and the time for work breaks.


One of these rulings that stands out is that of the company that questioned if half of the employees’ work break, i.e., 7.5 of the 15 minutes used for this purpose, could be considered as effective working time. The Supreme Court upheld the company’s decision by not considering the “work break” as effective working time, thus taking into account that this fact does not imply a substantial change in working conditions, as it is based on the employer’s tolerance and not on a legal right by contract.

Another case studied was that of a company that tried to carry out a collective dismissal of its 12 employees due to company closure, and where the court considered that it was not possible to apply the procedure, given that the company had less than 20 employees.

They also analyzed the advocate general’s conclusions on the dismissal of a pregnant women in a collective dismissal process. Here, the advocate general considered that, although the dismissal of a pregnant employee can only occur in exceptional cases, a collective dismissal is not always an exceptional case and the pregnant woman could be dismissed like any other employee without incurring any kind of discrimination. Also studied was a ruling by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, known as Barbulescu II. This ruling took a further step in defining the scope of corporate control and monitoring of the usual technological resources at work.

This event brought together many professionals from the labor and employment sector interested in case law and national legal doctrine, as well as representatives of companies whose daily activities are based on or connected to these matters.