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Liability and the resolution of disputes

Resolution of labour disputes under the Labour Dispute Resolution Act

Labour disputes are resolved in the labour dispute committee on the basis of the Labour Dispute Resolution Act. According to the law in force in Estonia, the working language in resolving labour disputes is Estonian. An Estonian-language petition along with Estonian-language evidence is to be submitted to the labour dispute committee. If the submitted petition or documents are in a foreign language, the labour dispute committee has the right to request their translation into Estonian.

One can have recourse to a labour dispute committee personally or through a representative. The provisions in the General Part of the Civil Code Act regarding representation are applied to representation, meaning that a right of representation may be granted by a transaction (authorisation) or it may arise from law (right of representation arising from law). The director of the labour dispute committee controls the right of representation and will not permit an individual to participate as a representative in the proceeding without it. A party may request that the right of representation of the other party’s representative be verified at any stage of the proceedings. In the case of a lawyer, the right of representation is presumed.

In the serving of procedural documents, the labour dispute committee is guided by the Code of Civil Procedure. Pursuant to section 317 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the labour dispute committee has the right to publicly serve procedural documents. The labour dispute committee has the right to publish an excerpt of the document subject to public service in Ametlikud Teadaanded.

The possibility for public service is used by the labour dispute committee only if a party to the labour dispute does not acknowledge the receipt of the procedural documents sent by the labour dispute committee by e-mail or post.

 

Submitting a petition to a labour dispute committee

In order to start a labour dispute, an APPLICATION (DOCX) in Estonian must be filled in and evidence in Estonian must be attached. An application may be submitted to the labour dispute committee on paper or electronically.

The application must include:

  • jurisdiction of the labour dispute matter, i.e. the region where settlement of the labour dispute shall take place;
  • the name, personal identification code or registry code, and details of the residence or location and means of communication (telephone number, e-mail) of the party who submitted the petition;
  • the name, personal identification code or registry code, and details of the residence or location and means of communication (telephone number, e-mail) of the person against whom the claim is being submitted;
  • the explicit claim of the petitioner; in the case of a financial claim, it is shown as a gross amount;
  • the circumstances serving as the basis for the claim, with which the claim is being justified;
  • evidence which supports the facts on which the claim is based, with a specific reference to which fact is sought to be proved by which piece of evidence;
  • whether the party agrees to written proceedings for the matter or wishes to have the matter reviewed at a hearing;
  • confirmation regarding the agreement between the parties, if they want to resolve the labour dispute before the agreed-upon labour dispute committee.

The brochure “Settlement of Labour Disputes in the Labour Disputes Committee” prepared by the Labour Inspectorate is helpful in filling in the labour dispute application. The brochure describes the differences between the ordinary proceeding, the written proceeding and the conciliation proceeding, the requirements for the application and the evidence, the limitation periods for the requirements, the model requirements for both the employer and the employee and many other necessary information related to the labour dispute.

The completed and signed application must be sent to the labour dispute committee. An unsigned application will not be accepted. You can find the work areas and contact details of labour dispute committees HERE.

An employee may submit a petition to the labour dispute committee of their place of residence or place of employment or the location or place of residence of the employer. The employee will make the decision. The employer may submit a petition to the labour dispute committee in the place of residence of the employee or the place of employment. The petition for the settlement of a collective labour dispute shall be submitted to the labour dispute committee of the location or residence of the employer or to the labour dispute committee of the location of the employers’ association or the central union of employers.

In addition, it is possible for the parties to agree in advance, in a form that can be reproduced in writing (for example, in an employment contract or by e-mail), in which area the labour dispute will be settled. At the same time, the parties cannot choose a specific director of a labour dispute committee to resolve the dispute. The distribution of labour dispute matters is based on the service areas and internal work organisation of labour dispute committees.

One can have recourse to a labour dispute committee personally or through a representative. A petition and the annexes thereto can be submitted signed with a handwritten signature on paper or electronically. If the application is sent to the e-mail address of the labour dispute committee electronically, it will be digitally signed and the necessary documents will be attached. The application may be signed by a representative only if a document certifying the right of representation or a power of attorney is attached thereto.