The Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) has handed down its first judgment in which it raises the minimum amount of the redundancy payment, considering that this is not sufficiently dissuasive to prevent the company from lightly resorting to termination. And neither does it sufficiently compensate the worker for losing her job. “It is clearly insignificant“, as stated in the ruling released this Wednesday, in which for the first time the magistrates invoke the European Social Charter to force the company to give more money to a terminated worker. This has seen her compensation quadrupled, up to a payment of €4,435.
The events date back to March 2020. Two weeks after declaring the first state of alarm for covid, the company BSR Colocation Service SL, dedicated to finding accommodation for travelers, terminates the affected worker. This she had been with the company for just four months and the management alleges that the impact that the pandemic will foreseeably have on their accounts forces them to do without their services.
The dismissal takes place the same morning that the Government approves the limitation of layoffs derived from the covid incidence. What the Government popularly baptized as ‘forbidden to fire‘, although it only made the cessation amounts more expensive, as the Supreme Court later ruled.
The company sends a letter to the affected party, who was teleworking, in which it informs her that she is fired and that she is entitled to compensation of €941.78. Which, given his short tenure in the company and his annual salary of 25,000 euros gross, does not reach even a month’s salary. The rest of the template is applied a erte.
Unemployed, without benefits and with a dependent child
The affected, with a minor dependent childdid not meet the work experience sufficient prior to have contributed the minimum to be able to collect a benefit for unemploymentwhich left her without income for eight months, until at the end of November she found a job again, according to the court ruling.
And, meanwhile, the company remained on the path of the benefits despite the pandemic impact. While his clients did not cancel contracts, but merely postponed them. In 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, he recorded earnings of 200,000 euros.
“In the present case, the assessed legal compensation, which does not reach 1,000 euros, is clearly insignificantdoes not compensate the damage caused by the loss of the job, nor does it have a deterrent effect for the company”, the magistrates end up ruling. And it is that they consider that the amount applied by the company, the legal minimum for unfair dismissal, does not comply Neither with international legislation nor with the recommendations of European organizations.
Specifically, the magistrates invoke Convention 158 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and article 24 of the European Social Charter to raise the compensation. Something that courts of first instance, such as the court number 26 of the social of Barcelona, they had already applied alleging the same reasons of defenselessness and lack of a deterrent charge for companies. In that case, and given that the salary of the person affected was clearly higher than in the case of the TSJC, the magistrate gave compensation of 60,000 euros.
The TSJC applies this criterion for the first time and raises the minimum compensation, although it insists that said criterion is not absolutely generalizable to all cases and that to avoid discretionalities from the magistracies, it is appropriate to evaluate it on a case-by-case basis. The magistrates, to calculate the amount of the cessation, take as a reference as if the affected person had been alive from the moment of her cessation until the end of the first state of alarm. Which would have earned him an unemployment benefit. Consequently, they oblige the company to pay an additional amount of €3,493.