A discrimination lawsuit filed by retired judge Jozef Soročina was dismissed by the Bratislava I District Court but the judge’s attorney, Juraj Kus, stated that the case would be appealed, the SITA newswire wrote.
"Our understanding is that the court erred and should have ruled in our favour," stated Kus after the hearing, as quoted by SITA, adding that in the court's decision, Judge Branislav Král did note that discrimination did exist in the salaries between judges serving on Slovakia’s former Special Court, created to hear cases involving high level corruption and organised crime, and salaries of judges serving in general district and regional courts.
But the ruling judge in this case wrote that to eliminate discrimination by paying the difference between the two levels of salaries at this time would again result in discrimination against other judges, adding that from the beginning of the Special Court there was no expectation that judges of general courts would be entitled to the higher salary received by the judges of the Special Court.
"It would have been a completely different situation if initially all judges were entitled to such a claim that would then be only awarded to judges of the Special Court," the judge wrote in the ruling.
Judge Král further said that claiming non-pecuniary damages under the anti-discrimination law would only be possible if previous remedies to remove the discrimination, such as obtaining appropriate satisfaction, had been originally foreseen in the law. When the Constitutional Court previously ruled that the higher pay for judges of the Special Court was contrary to Slovakia’s Constitution, it thus provided reasonable moral satisfaction to the judges, said Král, adding that only in the event that this had harmed the judges' dignity to a large extent should financial compensation for non-pecuniary damages be considered. The judge wrote that no such harm has been proven in this case.
Retired judge Jozef Soročina filed the wage discrimination lawsuit claiming that the difference between his salary as a judge of a general court and the salary paid to judges of the former Special Court caused him a loss of €124,725.
The Bratislava I District Court dismissed another wage discrimination lawsuit by a judge in September last year but that decision is not final, as the involved judge, Lenka Pavlovičová of the District Court in Nové Mesto nad Váhom, appealed the verdict.
SITA wrote that eleven judges from Slovakia’s Supreme Court have been successful in their wage discrimination lawsuits but noted that the president of the Supreme Court, Stefan Harabin, helped them to succeed by not appealing the first court verdicts.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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8. May 2012 at 10:00