Batumi City Court Reinstates Dismissed Employee in Case Litigated by ISFED
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), with USAID Rule of Law Program support,protects the rights of dismissed employees and political expression in the civil service.
On March 2, 2023, the Batum City Court (Judge Khatuna Bolkvadze) reinstated Beglar Tsintsadze, the Head of the Administrative Department of the Khelvachauri Culture and Art Center, after annulling his dismissal order.
The court also granted his request for compensation for a forced delay until the final execution of the court decision. The case was litigated by ISFED, with support from the USAID Rule of Law Program.
“I was appointed as the head of the Administrative Department of the Khelvachauri Culture and Art Center on February 18, 2021, for a 10-month term. I performed my duties diligently and never faced any disciplinary action. However, on January 10, 2022, I found out that other employees had their contracts extended and mine was not. Someone else was appointed to my job. I was dismissed without warning, citing the expiration of my contract.” – says Beglar Tsintsadze.
ISFED argued that there were no grounds for signing a limited-term contract (there were no plans to eliminate the position after ten months nor would the work be completed at that time) so there had to be the presumption of permanence in a labor contract. Therefore, in accordance with court practice and legislation, the labor contract was considered permanent and the employer did not have the right to use the expiration of the contract as a basis for dismissal.
Tsintsadze believes his dismissal was due to his political activity. In October 2021, he was a candidate of the political party "For Georgia," formed by former Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, in the Khelvachauri Sakrebulo local government elections.
The Batumi City Court’s decision is an important one because it went beyond the terms of the signed contract and considered the nature of the work relations instead. This decision will reassure civil servants that contracts of limited duration cannot be used to control their political preferences or punish them for political activism that does not conflict with their work.