The Turkish Constitutional Court recently held that terminating
an employment agreement based on the employee lodging a complaint
about the employer to the Prime Ministry Communication Centre
("BİMER") violated the employee's constitutional
rights. The court held the employee's freedom of expression is
protected under Article 26 of the Constitution.
In the case at hand, the employer terminated the agreement
immediately. It claimed just cause for the termination (under
Article 25 of Labour Code numbered 4857) due to the employee
lodging a complaint before BİMER. The employee filed a
re-employment lawsuit, seeking the termination be cancelled.
The first instance court ruled the employment agreement was not
terminated on a justified ground, since the employee's action
did contradict honesty and loyalty.
The Supreme Court reversed the first instance court's
decision, holding the employee's statements in the complaint
were insulting to the employer.
The employee appealed the matter to the Constitutional Court. On
review, the Constitutional Court ruled in the employee's
Lodging a complaint to BİMER is constitutionally protected
as freedom of expression, under Article 26 of the
Assessing violation of the employee's freedom of expression
will be made in two steps:
Determining whether there is an interference with the
employee's constitutional rights.
Determining whether such interference is based on valid
Terminating the agreement based on the employee's
application to a public authority is an interference with the
employee's freedom of expression.
The employee's application to BİMER was intended as a
"call for aid" from public authorities. The application
does not constitute a public statement which may affect the
The Constitutional Court's decision (dated 14 April 2016,
with application number 2013/6829) was published in Official
Gazette number 29742 on 14 June 2016. Please see this link for the full text of the
Constitutional Court's decision (only available in
Information first published in the
MA | Gazette, a fortnightly legal update newsletter produced by
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