A staff member of a foreign embassy in Geneva approached two female passport seekers by calling them privately outside regular office hours and inviting them for dinner. The staff member was invited to attend the foreign consul's offices in order to be confronted with the alleged incidents. The Supreme Court held that an employer confronted with a significant violation of employee duties must decide whether to issue an ordinary or extraordinary termination, the decision of which will be binding.
A leading media house in Switzerland, the Tamedia Group, has been testing a new compensation model for online journalists. Writers will receive Sfr100 bonuses per quarter for the most clicked (not necessarily read) articles. In addition, the journalist with the highest number of clicks will be paid Sfr800 per trimester, with Sfr500 and Sfr300 paid to the journalists in second and third place. Entire teams will benefit from a Sfr1,500 bonus if they can increase the total number of clicks from the previous month.
In a recently published decision, the Supreme Court held that employers are obliged to disclose employment contracts and other relevant documents relating to pay and working conditions to the 26 so-called 'cantonal tripartite commissions', which serve as control bodies for protection against wage and social dumping in Switzerland.
Uber is considered by many to be a globally operating transport company with 10,000 employees in approximately 60 countries. Whether an Uber driver is an entrepreneur or an employee affects a variety of legislative areas. If Swiss employment laws apply, the employee has a basic right to perform the agreed-upon work. However, among other factors, under the relative investment comparison test applicable in Switzerland, Uber drivers are not classed as employees, as they cover all other operating costs.
Following a report issued by the federal government stating that there is no need for legislative action for remote home workers, National Councillor Thierry Burkart launched a parliamentary initiative to provide further flexibility for remote home workers. The initiative has already drawn fierce opposition from major trade unions, even though trade unions and green parties are otherwise in favour of remote home work to further the work-life balance and reduce the daily commute.
Following the issuance of specific 'fat cat' regulations in 2014, the federal government proposed that fixed and flexible compensation packages of board members and high-ranking management in state-owned enterprises should be regulated by the end of November 2016. Flexible compensation elements (particularly bonuses) can no longer exceed 50% of the fixed salary and fringe benefits cannot exceed 10% of the fixed salary.
There is an emerging trend towards part-time or even full-time remote work in Switzerland. Due to this emerging trend and in order to address the potential need for more legislative regulation, the federal government recently issued a report which comprehensively reviewed existing employment, data protection and health and safety legislation, including income tax aspects of remote work.
The consultation process for the federal government's draft bill requiring employers with 50 or more employees to conduct a wage analysis every four years recently closed. Following widespread scepticism regarding the increased wage control mechanisms, it is now proposed that only employers with more than 100 employees fall under the new regime. Certain parliamentarians have also pleaded for an automatic repeal of the proposed new law after 10 years.
The Zurich Administrative Court recently ruled that female kindergarten teachers were not discriminated against, despite receiving 13% less in salary than male professional apprenticeship teachers. According to the court, the complainants failed to demonstrate that the demands of the job had increased substantially since 1999, when the court had performed a comprehensive review of the classification of female kindergarten teachers.
It is increasingly evident that labour laws no longer reflect the needs of a modern service society. Switzerland's working hours regime is routinely breached and yet exceptions to the rules are available only in limited cases. Unsurprisingly, a professional alliance of the auditing, trust, IT and public relations sectors wants to adapt the law to ensure that senior employees and highly qualified professionals are no longer limited by maximum working hours and minimum daily rest periods.
The Zurich Supreme Court recently rendered a long-awaited decision regarding a former Swiss banker who had on a number of occasions presented CDs containing bank client data to the media. The court held that Swiss bank secrecy laws had not been violated because the banker had been employed by a Cayman Islands bank. However, the court was unwilling to accept the former banker's defence that that he had acted as a whistleblower.