On July 30, 2021, the Plenum of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan adopted a decision on the interpretation of some articles of the Labor Code.
According to the facts of the case, A. Balayeva (applicant) started working as a specialist in the customer service department of “Yeni Hayat” branch of “Atabank” Open Joint-Stock Company (defendant) on May 19, 2010. By the order of the defendant dated March 11, 2019 she continued her labor activity in the “Sabail” branch. The employment contract concluded with her was terminated by order No. 1434 dated November 22, 2019, on the basis of paragraph “a” of Article 70 of the Labor Code (on the basis of liquidation of the enterprise).
The plaintiff stated that the liquidation of the branch was not affected by Article 70 (a) of the Labor Code, because the defendant (“Yeni Hayat” branch of Atabank OJSC), which is a party to the employment contract with her, was not liquidated. Therefore, she appealed to the Nasimi District Court with claims to annul the order, reinstate her and pay her salary for involuntary absence.
However, the defendant filed an application for the expiration of the statute of limitations and requested that as it is an individual labor dispute, a 1-month period must be applied to the plaintiff's claim. The court applied the time limit and rejected the claim of the applicant. The Baku Court of Appeals, which heard the plaintiff's appeal, appealed to the Constitutional Court in order to clarify both the plaintiff's claims in the court of the first instance and the disputes arising from Articles 294 (bodies dealing with individual labor disputes) and 296 (statute of limitations for resolving individual labor disputes) of the Labor Code.
The Constitutional Court initially noted that
Regarding the malpractice, the Constitutional Court notes that the State Labor Inspection Service under the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population cannot be considered a pre-trial body for individual labor disputes, taking into account the requirements of Article 1.1 of its Statute and Article 294 of LC. Thus, the pre-trial body for individual labor disputes:
a) the establishment must be provided for in a collective agreement
b) enterprises should be established under trade unions.
In connection with the interpretation of Article 296, it is noted that "the body deals individual labor dispute" means both pre-trial bodies and courts. It means the courts are also bodies that deal with individual labor disputes.