Judgment No SKC-2504/2013
Supreme Court of the Republic of Latvia
6 December 2013
The claimant, Ms. E., was fired by her employer during probation period. She claims that it was because she refused to participate in a party organized by her employer, where she had refused to take part in some of the activities, including to go to the sauna naked with her colleagues, as she considered them sexually abusive. She requested to be reinstated in the position, but the first two levels of the court refused her claim.
Ms. E. complained that she had been discriminated against in violation of the Labour Law.
The Court reminded that if an employee indicates that he or she had been discriminated against, the employer has to prove that discrimination has not taken place. Thus, although if an employer fires an employee during the probation period he is not obliged to provide the reasoning for the dismissal, there has to be one, so that the employer could prove that the dismissal is not based on discriminative grounds. The Supreme Court was dissatisfied with the level of attention the lower courts had afforded to the evidence provided by the claimant. The Court emphasized that in case of abuse against the individual, it is more important whether the individual feels abused, than whether the abuser meant to do it. Furthermore, it considered that the employer of Ms. E. had failed to prove that there had been other reasons, besides the discriminatory ones, to dismiss Ms. E.
Because of these reasons the Supreme Court sent the case back to the court of appeals for reevaluation.