2019.12.31 11:00

Lithuania turns to European court in pay discrimination at EU agency case

The Lithuanian Supreme Court decided on Monday to turn to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling in a case involving temporary agency workers of the Vilnius-based European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE).

The Lithuanian court said in a press release that it was asking for a clarification of certain provisions in the EU's regulation on temporary agency work.

Manpower Lit, a temporary employment agency that recruited temporary workers for EIGE, paid them lower salaries than permanent staff.

EIGE's temporary workers, the defendants, turned to a labour disputes commission, claiming pay arrears.

The commission ruled that Manpower Lit had discriminated against these workers by paying them lower salaries than they would have received if they had been recruited directly by EIGE, and ordered the payment of six month's pay arrears to the temporary staff.

The decision was upheld by Lithuania's lower courts and appeals courts.

The country's Supreme Court suspended the civil proceedings pending the EU court's ruling, according to the press release.

Five temporary workers told the courts they had been paid about 700 euros monthly at EIGE, compared with almost 2,000 euros paid to permanent employees with the same level of education and work experience.

Manpower Lit and EIGE insist they did not violate the European rules that require the same pay for the same work at institutions, because the institute's employees had different functions.