Public Defender Addresses the Culture, Education and Sports Center of the Union of the Blind with Recommendation relating to Violation of Labour Rights of 11 Employees
The Public Defender’s Office of Georgia studied the alleged illegal dismissal of former employees of the Culture, Education and Sports Center of the Union of the Blind of Georgia – NNLE and violation of their labour rights. The study of the substantial circumstances of the case made it clear that the labor relations with the applicants were terminated in violation of the requirements of law.
On February 8, 2022, the director of the Culture, Education and Sports Center issued orders to apply a warning against 11 employees as a form of disciplinary liability. The untimely fulfillment of duties under the employment contract and labour regulations, as well as violation of the labour discipline, in particular, absence fromwork withoutagoodcause, served as basis for issuing the above orders. On February 14, 2022, the director issued orders on the termination of employment contracts with the employees, as a result of which the applicants were dismissed from February 1, 2022 (earlier date). The reason for terminating the employment contracts with the employees was absence fromwork withoutagoodcause.
The former employees of the Center explained that in the period of January/February, on the basis of the verbal instructions of the former director of the Center, they used to go to the office in case of extreme need, due to the pandemic, to avoid the gathering of several people in a closed space. In addition, the case materials include documentation confirming the infection of one of the employees, whose alleged contacts were the above applicants, who have not been informed by the new director of changes in the work mode. The management of the Center also failed to provide proof of communication with the employees on the mentioned issue. It should also be noted that the applicants had not been given the opportunity to express their position before the imposition of the disciplinary sanction.
The mentioned circumstances give grounds to consider that the employer's actions were premeditated and deliberate, which was manifested in the artificial creation of grounds for terminating employment relations with the employees. It should also be taken into account that the applicants were not given time or opportunity to correct their disciplinary misconduct and to fulfill their duties properly, as they were dismissed on the very first day of showing up at work after the delivery of orders on the imposition of disciplinary liability.
The Public Defender draws attention to the fact that the majority of dismissed employees are blind or partially sighted persons. Considering the current social situation in the country, the area of employment of the mentioned persons is extremely scarce. In addition, according to the charter of the Union of the Blind of Georgia, an important goal of the Union is to ensure labour, legal and social protection of blind citizens through the promotion of their employment.
Considering the above-mentioned circumstances and the hastened issuance of orders on the termination of employment contracts with the applicants, the Public Defender considers that the actions taken by the Culture, Education and Sports Center against the dismissed persons were not legitimate. Based on the above, the Public Defender called on the authorized persons to ensure the reinstatement of the dismissed persons in the positions and to compensate them for the period they missed against their will.