On 13 January a Lithuanian Supreme Court ruling established new case law in Lithuania on the extent of employers’ obligation to inform and consult with employee representatives. In a dispute between employee representatives and their employer, the court reached a decision in favour of the employer, represented by our team.

Failure to reach consensus does not mean that procedures have not been followed

The court dismissed a complaint by the employees’ representatives, namely that the employer had not properly followed information and consultation procedures set in the Labour Code when deciding on approval of internal policies and organisational changes. The court stated that communicating the necessary information to the employees’ representatives, exchanging views, engaging in dialogue and even, to a certain extent, taking into consideration suggestions of the employees’ representatives, implies carrying out information and consultation procedures. The fact that the parties have not reached consensus during consultation or that the employees’ representatives do not agree with the employer’s plans does not in itself mean failure to comply with information and consultation procedures.

Line between ‘sufficiently’ and ‘inadequately’ informing and consulting employees

According to the employees’ representatives, information and consultation took place only in a formal manner, while not all suggestions by the employees’ representatives were taken into account and, moreover, some information was lacking. The employer rejected this assessment by the employees’ representatives, arguing that the information provided ‒ as well as consultation and discussions with the employees’ representatives ‒ went beyond what was required by the Labour Code and, moreover, that some of their suggestions were taken into account. Thus, the dispute was essentially about the boundary between ‘sufficiently’ and ‘inadequately’ informing and consulting employees’ representatives, and the threshold beyond which employees’ representatives are not entitled to require the employer to take decisions only with their consent.

Our team representing the client

The client was represented by Sorainen senior associates Jurgita Karvelė, Agnietė Venckienė and associate Juliana Pavilovska.