In judgment no. 20819 of 21 July 2021, the Joint Sections of the Italian Court of Cassation in confirming the decision on the merits, ruled that the clause attached to the airline cabin crew employment contract (entitled "Termination of contract"), which was the subject of the trade union's action, is discriminatory. The clause in question – contained in the Irish National Collective Agreement applied by the sued company to its employees – is in fact aimed at preventing temporary cessation of work and other labour-related collective activities of any nature, on pain of annulment of the contract and loss of any salary increase, indemnity or shift change benefit. According to the Court of Cassation, the workers' freedom of association is protected both by the Italian Constitution and by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, since it may be the subject of "personal beliefs". Indeed, the exercise of the rights included in the workers' freedom of association is one of the possible expressions of "personal beliefs" that cannot be a basis for discrimination. Moreover, the Joint Sections have affirmed that when the trade union acts, as in the case at hand, in its own right to protect homogeneous individual interests of general importance, it may apply for – and obtain – compensation for non-monetary loss. In view of the above, the decision whereby the company was sentenced to compensate the suing Trade Union for non-monetary loss related to anti-union behaviour has been confirmed, including as to the amount, determined by the court of appeal, on an equitable basis, in Euro 50,000.
Originally Published 30 September 2021
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