The session was opened by Daniel Cifuentes, who analysed the main trends that the labour law sector will be focused on over the coming months. Among other matters, Cifuentes highlighted the detection of irregularities in one out of every six temporary workforce restructuring plans (“ERTEs”) reviewed by the Labour and Social Security Inspection Authorities; the publication, by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, of a dossier with the main statistics on teleworking in Spain; the approval of a 20% increase in sanctions related to the Labour Infringements and Penalties Act (Ley de Infracciones y Sanciones en el Orden de lo Social, “LISOS”), as well as the entry into force of the International Labour Organisation’s convention on violence and harassment in the workplace.
Next, the Pérez-Llorca partner summarised the twenty most significant rulings handed down by the Supreme Court and the National High Court over the last quarter related to various matters such as: legal assignment, collective dismissal, the right to strike, teleworking, variable compensation and equality plans, among others. On this last matter, Cifuentes highlighted the Spanish Supreme Court ruling of 25 May 2021, which declares that it is not possible to negotiate equality plans with ad hoc committees given that it is not a question of guaranteeing the presence of people from all centres, but rather that the negotiating committee has the corresponding negotiating legitimacy.
Next, Gloria Pérez delved into the top three most important labour rulings from the past few months. Firstly, Pérez analysed the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 29 March 2021 in which evidence obtained in violation of fundamental rights and used for the dismissal of an employee was made invalid. At issue in this case was whether the dismissal should be declared null and void for using evidence that violates the employee’s right to privacy or whether the evidence should simply not be admitted in the proceedings. In the end, the Constitutional Court dismissed the request for nullity of the dismissal, while considering that the employee was entitled to compensation for violation of fundamental rights.
Secondly, Gloria Pérez highlighted a Supreme Court ruling from 27 May 2021 on whether a company that deducts an amount corresponding to a delay in the provision of services from employees’ salaries is considered to be applying a fine in kind. In this case, the Supreme Court establishes that the time an employee is not providing services to a company does not generate the right to a salary and, in the event of several punctuality offences, the company may impose a sanction.
Lastly, the Counsel noted a Supreme Court ruling of 5 March 2021 which assesses the grounds for signing contracts for specific work or services. This ruling analyses whether extra-curricular activities taught in a private school allow such contracts to be entered into. The Supreme Court signals that, in these types of activities, the contracts may not be signed on a temporary basis, and must be permanent.
The event ended with an interesting discussion led by Laura Pérez and Isabel Moya on the practical aspects on the negotiation of equality plans, where the speakers responded to the questions asked by attendees.