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Parliamentary questions
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21 November 2018
E-004933/2018(ASW)
Answer given by Ms Jourová on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-004933/2018

Under Brussels I Regulation (recast)(1), employees have a possibility, among others, to sue their employer at the place where they habitually carry out their work(2). While Rome I Regulation(3) allows the parties to choose the applicable law to their employment contract, it guarantees, irrespective of that choice, the right of the employees to the protection under the mandatory provisions of the law of the country where they habitually carry out their work.

The habitual place of work is relevant both for determining the jurisdiction and the applicable law in disputes on individual employment contracts and is the main connecting factor under these protective rules, but it is not the only one. It is for the competent court to determine which law is applicable, which may be the law of another country.

In line with its established case law(4) the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) held(5) that in disputes relating to their employment contracts, air crew members must be able to bring proceedings before the courts of the place where, or from which they perform the essential part of their duties vis-à-vis their employer; the national court must determine that place in the light of all the relevant circumstances, including the aircrew's home base(6), which constitutes a factor likely to play a significant role in identifying that place. The place where the aircraft aboard which the work is habitually performed is stationed can also be relevant.

The special rules explained above aim to protect workers and their freedom of movement. The above ruling of the CJEU helps to ensure better protection of workers’ rights as it clarifies the jurisdiction over an action brought by the latter. The Commission is reflecting on follow up action to ensure it is widely known and uniformly applied(7).

(1)Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters..
(2)Article 21(1)(b)(i).
(3)Regulation (EC) No 593/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 on the law applicable to contractual obligations (Rome I).
(4)E.g. in Case C-29/10, relating to international road transport.
(5)Joined Cases C-168/16 and C-169/16.
(6)As defined in Regulation 3922/91.
(7)COM(2015) 598 final, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=COM:2015:598:FIN

Last updated: 22 November 2018Legal notice