L’avv. Sofa Bargellini commenta la sentenza del Tribunale del Lavoro di Roma in merito alla legge da applicare agli equipaggi degli aeromobili.
On 7th February 2017, the Rome Labour Court filed an interesting decision regarding competent
judge and law applicable to the employment contract of a crew member hired by an Irish company,
working on board an Irish aircraft, but starting from an Italian airport.
The employee had been dismissed due to misconduct: she refused to come back to work, after
having been re-assigned to lower duties. In particular, the employee had been previously assigned
to a higher role, but after one year she had been demoted to her initial position.
The Italian Judge stated his competence: even if the defendant was a non-Italian company, the
Italian Judge was competent due to the new provision of article 21 of EU Regulation no.
1215/2012. This provision states that an employer domiciled in a Member State may be sued in
another Member State “(i) in the courts for the place where or from where the employee habitually carries out his work or in the courts for the last place where he did so […]”. In the our case, the
crew member was working “from” an Italian airport, therefore from Italy.
This is a new criteria for determining the competence of the Judges in the EU, which was
absolutely absent in the previous regulation 44/2001: this is a relevant change for employers’
working in the international transport sector, because they now can be sued in foreign States were
they do not have any legal office or secondary seats, but from which the employees start their
In addition, the Rome Labour Court stated that the case was ruled by the Irish law, pursuant to the
provisions of the Rome Convention of 1980: not only the parties had chosen Irish law as law
applicable to the employment contract, but the Irish provisions would have been applicable also if
the parties had not chosen the law. The working activity, in fact, was performed on board of Irish
aircrafts, under the Irish flag, and therefore in Ireland.
The Italian Judge reaffirmed a principle ruling air transport, which is that the aircraft must be
considered as territory of the Country where they are formally registered. Therefore, crew
members work in the Country where the aircraft are registered.
The Italian Judge rejected the employee’s claim, stating that the dismissal was fair, grounding his
decision on the Irish provisions.