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Preparing a petition regarding a labour dispute

In order to take a dispute before a labour dispute committee a petition must be filed with that committee.

Both employees and employers can file a petition with a labour dispute committee. The petition must be signed. The petition filed with a labour dispute committee can be prepared on paper, signed by hand and subsequently sent by post. Alternatively, it can be digitally signed and emailed.

The settlement of labor disputes and the communication with the Labor Dispute Committee takes place in Estonian, which also means that a labor dispute petition must be submitted in Estonian. In the case of proof in a foreign language, an Estonian translation must be submitted.

Anyone can have recourse to a labour dispute committee personally or through a representative. The provisions of the General Part of the Civil Code Act concerning representation will be applied to representation. The right of representation is a set of rights within the limits of which a representative or agent may act in the name of the principal. The right of representation can be bestowed with an authorisation document or it can arise from the law (right of representation arising from law). If an employee or an employer files a petition with a labour dispute committee through a representative, an authorisation document must be annexed to the petition. An authorisation document is not necessary if the right of representation arises from the law (e.g. members of the management board can represent a company). The right or representation is presumed in the case of a lawyer. The chairman of the labour dispute committee will verify the representative’s right of representation and will not allow a person to participate in the proceedings as a representative if they lack that right.

A petition can be filed with a labour dispute committee:

  • by emailing it to [email protected];
  • by sending it by post to the relevant address of the permanent labour dispute committees. The postal addresses and jurisdictions of the labour dispute committees are available here.

Petition

Example of an authorisation document

Withdrawal of petition before proceedings

Withdrawing a petition during the proceedings

Application to add a notation on entry into force

Waiving a claim

The information that must be included in a petition is stipulated in subsection 26(2) of the Labour Dispute Resolution Act. A petition must set out the following:

  1. the jurisdiction of the labour dispute;
  2. the petitioner’s name, personal identification number or registry code, residence or registered office and means of communication;
  3. the name of the person against whom a claim is filed, their personal identification number or registry code, residence or registered office and means of communication;
  4. the petitioner’s clearly expressed claim, the amount of claim if the claim is monetary;
  5. the factual circumstances forming the basis for the claim and used to substantiate the claim;
  6. evidence proving the factual circumstances on which the claim is based, and a specific reference to the facts that the petitioner wants to prove with each piece of evidence;
  7. whether the party agrees to case being decided through written proceedings or wishes it to be heard in a session;
  8. a confirmation on the agreement of the parties if subsection 25(3) of the Labour Dispute Resolution Act is applied to the jurisdiction of the labour dispute.

The petitioner is the person who files a petition with a labour dispute committee.

The opposing party is the person against whom a claim is filed. If the petitioner or the opposing party is an employee, the petition must include the name, personal identification number, telephone number, email address, postal address, postcode, place of employment and position held during the employment relationship. If the petitioner or the opposing party is an employer, the petition must include the name, commercial register number, telephone number and email address of the company, as well as the address and postcode of the legal entity. Information about companies is available in the commercial register.

A petitioner must choose the place where the labour dispute is to be resolved. Where petitioners are an employee, they can file a petition with the labour dispute committee in their place of residence or place of employment or where the employer has its registered office or residence. Where petitioners are an employer, they can file a petition with the labour dispute committee in the place of residence or place of employment of the employee.

If parties have agreed on a specific labour dispute committee for the resolution of the labour dispute ahead of time, a petition can be filed with the labour dispute committee agreed by the parties. In this case, the petition must include the agreed labour dispute committee and the respective agreement of the parties must be added to the petition in a format which can be reproduced in writing.

A petition for adjudication on a collective labour dispute will be filed with the labour dispute committee of the registered office or residence of the employer or with the labour dispute committee of the registered office of the federation of employers or the central federation of employers.

When making a choice, the yellow box must be clicked.

Petitioners can choose whether a labour dispute is resolved in ordinary proceedings or conciliation proceedings, and can state whether they agree to written proceedings. When selecting conciliation proceedings in the petition, an agreement of the parties in writing or in a format which is reproducible in writing must be filed together with the petition in order for the matter to be resolved through conciliation proceedings. For more information about different types of proceedings, please follow this LINK.

When making a choice, the yellow box must be clicked.

A petitioner must include a claim or claims in their petition. For sample claims and the deadlines for filing claims, please follow this LINK.

If a petitioner files several claims against an opposing party, each one must be stated separately. For example, if an employee files a claim for wages, holiday pay, and redundancy payment against an employer, each one must be added on a separate line together with the amount of the claim because these claims have arisen on different bases.

A petitioner must describe the factual circumstances which form the basis of a claim. This means that a petitioner explains the circumstances of the employment relationship and the labour dispute in a freely selected format and substantiates each claim separately. Factual circumstances must also describe the agreements between the employer and the employee which are relevant to the resolution of the claims (such as the time of concluding the employment contract, whether the contract has a specified or an unspecified term, the time and reason for the termination of the contract, the amount of wages, pay day, work load, location of employment, use of holiday, and so on). Reference must be made to the evidence annexed to the petition when describing the factual circumstances.

A petitioner must substantiate all their claims. For this purpose, evidence substantiating the claim of the petitioner must be annexed to the petition. The petitioner can choose which evidence to annex to the petition. Any evidence provided or annexes must be numbered and the title of the document must reflect the nature of it (e.g. Annex 1 – Employment contract). In this way, the parties to the labour dispute and the labour dispute committee will find it easier to track the evidence and the petitioner can verify that all pieces of evidence which they wanted to include in the petition have been annexed.

For more information about evidence, please follow this LINK.

Parties are entitled to file a request with a labour dispute committee for the committee to require by a ruling that the other party submit evidence and information. A party can state in the petition which document they require the other party to present. For more information on requesting for evidence, please follow this LINK.

If a party has all the necessary evidence for a labour dispute, this section can remain empty.

If a petitioner would like to include a witness in the hearing of a labour dispute committee, the name of the witness and circumstances about which the witness is going to testify must be stated in the petition. A witness can be a third party who might be aware of circumstances which are significant to the labour dispute. The party who requested a witness to be summoned to the session will guarantee the presence of that witness at the session.

A petition must be signed. When a petition is filed with the labour dispute committee on paper (e.g. when the petitioner cannot sign the document digitally), then it must be signed by hand and the date of signature must be added. If the petition is filed electronically, the petition must be signed digitally. The date can be added to the petition separately or reference can be made to the date of digital signature.

Last updated: 07.02.2024