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Am I entitled to compensation if my rights are violated at work?

Am I entitled to compensation if my rights are violated at work?

Our Legal System protects the right to claim compensation if rights are violated at work. Such a violation can be of at least two types. 

On the one hand, there are labor rights. We have spoken succinctly on this issue in some of our articles, such as the one on geographic mobility or unfair dismissal. We will review the question as it is the most common situation in which the worker can claim compensation. 

However, today we want to emphasize the violation of fundamental rights in the workplace. And this is another field in which it is possible to claim compensation, although it has traditionally been more difficult to obtain it.

What happens when the company violates my labor rights?

Our starting point should be the sources of the Labor Code. According to art. 3 of the Workers' Statute, these are: 

1.- Legal and regulatory provisions of the State.

2.- Collective agreements. 

3.- Will of the parties (employment contract).

4.- Local and professional uses and customs.

This multiplicity of sources causes workers to have a complex catalog of rights, the protection of which is dispersed among different sources.

Despite the sectoral regulation of each of the labor rights, the Legal System offers two basic custodians:

1.- On the one hand, it offers the possibility of annulling business decisions that have implied a violation of rights. This would mean leaving them without effect and reverting the legal situation to the previous scenario. We saw an example when dealing with void dismissal.

2.- On the other hand, it offers the possibility of claiming compensation. Generally, this option is activated when it is impossible to reverse the previous situation, which makes it necessary to look for other forms of repair.

Compensation in the workplace can be agreed upon in negotiation or determined in a Judgment. However, there are situations in which the compensation amount is predetermined, as in the case of objective dismissal or unfair dismissal.

Can I demand compensation if my labor rights are violated?

Yes. As we have indicated, sometimes it will not be necessary more than to claim payment, since it will be the law itself or the contract that determines the right to collection and even its amount. Another example of this situation is found in the the termination of the executive contract, which we also talked about at the time.

Civil law will also allow us to claim compensation when the company has caused us damage that it has the obligation to repair. Situation that occurs when contractual or extra-contractual liability occurs and that usually comes into play, for example, in the case of accidents. 

But there is a violation of rights whose content and compensation amount is more subtle. We refer to the violation of fundamental rights, which is the central object of this article.

The violation of fundamental rights at work 

As we explained in our entries about the classification of dismissal, when the motive for a dismissal is discriminatory or affects other fundamental rights and public freedoms, it must be without effect.

But what not everyone knows is that in these cases an additional compensation should be paid. The cause of the ignorance is that such compensation is not regulated in the Workers' Statute. We must go to art. 183 of Law 36/2011, of October 10, regulating the social jurisdiction to find this right:

“When the sentence declares the existence of a violation, the judge must rule on the amount of compensation that, if applicable, corresponds to the plaintiff for having suffered discrimination and another injury to their fundamental rights and public freedoms, depending on both the non-pecuniary damage coupled with the violation of fundamental right, as well as the additional damages derived“.

The Judgment of the Constitutional Court 61/2021 

As in so many other cases, in the one resolved by STC 61/2021 it had been understood that there was an infringement of the fundamental rights of the affected person. But, as this was not strictly the cause of the dismissal, the Madrid Supreme Court did not rule on the additional compensation of art. 183 LRJS.

In response, the Constitutional Court stated that, once the violation of fundamental rights has been proven, any sentence must be pronounced regarding such compensation. Situation that leads us to a paradigm shift in which compensation for violation of fundamental rights could be claimed not only in the event of dismissal (as has been understood until now), but in any case, in which this kind of injury occurs.

Regarding the way of calculating the compensation, it will continue to be casuistry. As calculation bases, sources such as LISOS would be used, since this type of compensation does not stop having an added preventive value.

We are, therefore, before a new framework, where the rights of workers (particularly fundamental rights) are more protected. And where the actions of the company should be undertaken with more caution if possible.

Contact us, and our lawyers specializing in labour law will study your specific case. We Have:

Law firm in Barcelona
Law firm in Tarragona
Law firm in Reus
Law firm in Tarrega