Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2001] All ER (D) 90 (Feb)
Court: Court of Justice of the European Communities (Fifth Chamber)

Judges La Pergola (Rapporteur) (President of the Chamber), Wathelet, Edward, Jann and Sevön

Judgment Dates: 8 February 2001


European Community - Social policy - Employment - Employer's obligation to inform employees of conditions applicable to contract of employment - Length of daily or weekly work - Rules on overtime - Council Directive (EEC) 91/533.

The Case

Council Directive (EEC) 91-533 on an employer's obligation to inform employees of the conditions applicable to the contract or employment relationship was to be interpreted as not relating to the working of overtime. However, it was clear from art 2(1) of that Directive that the employer was obliged to notify the employee of any term having the nature of an essential element of the contract or employment relationship and requiring the employee to work overtime whenever requested to do so by his employer and that that information was to be notified under the same conditions as those laid down by the Directive for the elements expressly mentioned in art 2(2) thereof, which could, by analogy with the rule which applied to normal working hours by virtue of art 2(3), have taken the form of a reference to the relevant laws, regulations and administrative or statutory provisions or collective agreements. However, no provision of the Directive required an essential element of the contract or employment relationship that had not been mentioned in a written document delivered to the employee, or had not been mentioned therein with sufficient precision, to be regarded as inapplicable. Moreover, in so far as it was left to member states to apply their own rules of evidence as to the existence and content of contract or employment relationships, where an employer failed to comply with his obligation under the Directive to provide information, that Directive did not require the national court to apply, or refrain from applying, principles of national law under which the proper taking of evidence was deemed to have been obstructed where a party to the proceedings had not complied with his legal obligations to provide information.

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