EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


EPO Central Staff Committee Warns That EPO President Illegally Changes the Rules to Remove the Rights of the Accused, Crush Dissent/Unions

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Main court in Warsaw
Main court in Warsaw, photo by Michal Zacharzewski

Summary: The Rule of Law is no longer applicable in Eponia, where people can be dismissed or suspended based on mere allegations

THE EPO‘s attempts to silence Techrights have made it the de facto publication for almost everything deep inside Eponia (the stuff not announced to the outside world). We often get material from several sources simultaneously these days.

“I’m sure you’ll get several copies of this one, but just to make sure,” said one source, here it is.

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Le Comité central du Personnel

sc15452cp – 0.2.1/4.5/0.3.2

Amendment of the Service Regulations on suspension

Suspension of staff members is increasingly en vogue at the EPO. After staff representatives serving on the internal Appeals Committee and a member of the Boards of Appeal, the President of the Office decided to suspend on 18 November 2015 three elected staff representatives, also SUEPO executives. Not to mention “normal” employees suspended in less conspicuous investigative and disciplinary procedures.

“Suspension of staff members is increasingly en vogue at the EPO.”The President put on the agenda of the GCC meeting scheduled on 09 December a proposal to delete a protecting clause from Article 95 ServRegs, just in time before the Administrative Council (AC) of 16/17 December 2015.

Pursuant to Article 95 ServRegs, the appointing authority may decide to suspend an employee if an alleged misconduct is so serious that it becomes incompatible with his/her continuing in service, for instance if continuation of service would be against the interests of the Office, would endanger the investigation process or even other employees. Suspension is not a disciplinary sanction: it is essentially an interim measure until the appointing authority decides on a disciplinary sanction following the completion of a statutory disciplinary procedure.

“The President put on the agenda of the GCC meeting scheduled on 09 December a proposal to delete a protecting clause from Article 95 ServRegs, just in time before the Administrative Council (AC) of 16/17 December 2015.”The appointing authority may also decide to withhold part of the remuneration, up to half of the employee’s basic salary. A salary reduction is warranted when the foreseeable disciplinary measure would have a financial effect, i.e. only in case of relegation in step, downgrading or dismissal1. Presently, the Service Regulations include a single provision protecting employees against excessively slow investigation and disciplinary procedures: if no final decision is given within four months from the date of suspension, the employee shall again receive his/her full remuneration2. Furthermore, in that case, the employee is entitled to reimbursement of the amount of remuneration withheld3.

Similar provisions are included in the Service Regulations of other International Organisations, either in the form of a fixed duration for a suspension (e.g. non-extendable six months in the EU regulations), or in a more flexible form, with an advance written statement setting out and justifying its duration (UN and WHO). However, after the abolition of Article 95(3) ServRegs the EPO would be the only international organisation that would have nothing in place. While any extension of
1 Article 93 ServRegs
2 old Article 95(3) ServRegs, to be deleted soon
3 old Article 95(4) ServRegs, to be amended soon

any time limit over the presently four months would still be objectionable because it is not in the interest of staff, the abolition thereof is unacceptable because it is illegal: Article 6(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights states that everyone is entitled to a fair trial within a reasonable time (emphasis added).

The amended Article will have immediate effect on all suspensions ongoing on the date of its entry into force. The Administrative Council, assisted by the Office, has “house-banned” and suspended the member of the Boards of Appeal in December 2014, and is now being confronted with a decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) not proposing his removal from office, as would be required by Article 23(1) EPC. The AC has asked once more the EBoA to propose removal from office and it is now tempted to buy time. Prolonging the suspension on a reduced salary is the President’s selling argument for the AC to approve the amendment. However, the Council would be ill-advised to lose credit by approving such a drastic proposal.

“…the abolition thereof is unacceptable because it is illegal: Article 6(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights states that everyone is entitled to a fair trial within a reasonable time (emphasis added).”A “collateral” but possibly not completely undesired effect is that suspension of any EPO employee on a reduced salary may go on for an unlimited period of time, without justification and against ILO-AT case law4, with no incentive for the President or the AC to investigate speedily the alleged misconduct and decide in a reasonable time5. This de facto negates the interim character of a suspension and turns a salary reduction into a financial sanction. Such disproportionate decisions may in principle be challenged with the Administrative Tribunal but the review is limited due to their discretionary nature, and a judgment will be long to come.

Factually, suspension will become an additional punishment. Thus the present proposal of the President is neither in line with the Service Regulations nor with ILO-AT case law. It is a violation of the EPC, for much the same reason. It is also a violation of the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore, the AC should dismiss the proposal.

“Thus the present proposal of the President is neither in line with the Service Regulations nor with ILO-AT case law. It is a violation of the EPC, for much the same reason.”It should be noted that any damaging effect on any EPO employee this change of Article 95 ServRegs may in turn lead to court cases against Contracting States before the European Court of Human Rights. Therefore, this amendment will bring into disrepute the Organisation, the Office, as well as the respective Contracting States if they were to be convicted.

Finally, it is remarkable that President Battistelli comes with such a proposal for tougher punishment tools in what looks like a “suspension policy” against staff, although the AC gave him in March 2015 the clear mandate to engage into “social dialogue” with staff.

The Central Staff Committee
4 see for instance Judgment No.2698
5 see for instance Judgment No.2698

This document is quite self explanatory and is written in plain (not legal) language/terms, so there is little that we can or need to add to it.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New

  1. Alexandre Oliva's New Article About a Coup

    Some people try to tell me that the criticism I've got, inside the FSF and outside, since the Free Software Sept 11, are not about my being supportive of RMS, but about my making public statements referencing him at all.

  2. Debian Leadership Should Not be 'Shy' of Politics (and It's OK to Admit Palestinians Are Human Beings Too)

    The contemporary tendency to limit people's freedom of speech (e.g. permission to express political views) means that while people may find software freedom they will lose other essential freedoms

  3. New Series: Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    In the interest and motivation of exposing the true nature of things, Techrights will turn its attention to internal affairs at the higher echelons of the FSF, founded more than three and a half decades ago in MIT (where Stallman launched the GNU Project, developed the GNU Compiler Collection and a lot more foundational Free software)

  4. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 23, 2020

  5. Links 23/2/2020: PipeWire 0.3 and Osu!

    Links for the day

  6. FSF's Interim Co-President Alexandre Oliva on Being Cancelled

    It was reading this that I realized I’d been cancelled myself. In my case, I was painted misogynist and transphobic, and for a post in which I supported women but denounced a crowd of men twisting the feminist cause, that I share, to attack rms, as if he wasn’t a feminist himself; and in which I express curiosity as to what pronoun to use to refer to zero women to paint me as someone who disregards gender identities and their pronouns.

  7. Good People Need to Run for Free Software Foundation (FSF) Board Positions After an FSF Coup Threw in the Towel, Pushing Out the Founder

    "I have been hit, but not knocked out, and my campaign for free software is not over." --Richard Stallman, October 2019

  8. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 22, 2020

  9. Alexandre Oliva's Message About Cancel Culture at the FSF

    Being cancelled is no fun. In my case, it was for standing for a friend who got canceled for defending someone else from an accusation that was later proven false.

  10. Links 22/2/2020: Polish Government Increases GNU/Linux Use, Samza 1.3.1

    Links for the day

  11. Being Rich Does Not Imply Being Smart (Especially When One is Born Into Wealth)

    Presenting the 'genius' (college dropout, but that does not matter when the yardstick of wisdom is wealth alone), with his own predictions overlaid on top of his photo from the show of Bloomberg (another 'genius' whose supposed brilliance is measured using money alone)

  12. The Rise and Fall of Free Software

    "We simply need to make the movement less corporate, and more grassroots."

  13. Why You Should Adopt Debian 10, Not Vista 10 (Windows Vista With Microsoft's Latest Surveillance Add-ons)

    A little personal story and recommendation of Debian "Buster" (10) or Devuan (whose developers persist)

  14. Ethics by Exclusion

    It's the same old philosophical question; can excluding those who are perceived to be intolerant be seen as an act of tolerance?

  15. Even Worse Than Microsoft Inside the Board of the OSI

    The OSI has accepted people from companies that actively attack Software Freedom and there may be more on their way

  16. ZDNet Continues to Stuff Its 'Linux' Section With Proprietary Software of Microsoft

    The above is what the "Linux" section of ZDNet is going to look like throughout the weekend (and this is hardly unusual, either)

  17. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, February 21, 2020

  18. Links 21/2/2020: EasyOS 2.2.11 Released, Microsoft's Control of the Linux Foundation Increases and More Binary Blobs Arrive

    Links for the day

  19. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 20, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 20, 2020

  20. Video: LinuxWorld 1999, Torvalds and Stallman

    LinuxWorld 1999, Torvalds and Stallman

  21. GNU World Order is a Personal Sacrifice, LinuxWorld Just Business

    As the Linux Foundation shows, Linux is just business (and proprietary software) as usual, software patents included, whereas it’s GNU that continues the Free Software Movement’s battles

  22. Links 20/2/2020: Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU18, Mesa 20, VirtualBox 6.1.4

    Links for the day

  23. Open Source Did Not Win, It Was Assimilated to and by Proprietary Software

    Don’t fall for the whole “Open Source has won!” spiel; You know we’ve lost the battle (and were in effect gradually conquered) at OSI and elsewhere when those who speak for the OSI are Michael Cheng (Facebook), Max Sills (Google), and Chris Aniszczyk (Linux Foundation); they say “Open Source Under Attack” (FOSDEM talk) but their employers are the ones attacking and they downplay openwashing

  24. Former Microsoft Employees Don't Like Talking About Past and Present Microsoft Back Doors (Designed for Spy Agencies)

    In a typical Microsoftian fashion, once they cannot defend the illusion/delusion that Microsoft values security the 'Softers' run away and block any further debate

  25. Techrights Warns Against Impending Extradition Efforts (Passage of Julian Assange to His Death in the United States)

    Imprisonment of journalists who are effective at exposing crimes (of the powerful, not petty crimes) must never be condoned

  26. Team UPC: Many Mouths and No Ears

    The mental condition of Team UPC gets more worrisome by the week

  27. Team UPC Insults Judges Because the UPC is Dead and UPC Lobbyists Have Nothing Left to Lose

    More judge-shaming tactics are in the mix; Team UPC seems to feel like there's nothing left to lose as the UPC is already dead (hope itself is next to die)

  28. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 19, 2020

  29. China Bashing is Grounded in Fear (That They Can Simply Do Better Than the West)

    The atmosphere of hate towards China — fuelled partly by a white supremacist in the White House — is unhelpful and insulting; dignity and understanding is the way to go

  30. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 18, 2020

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts