Choice of action

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    Internal procedure or legal action in labour court

    It is important to stress the benefits of using the internal procedure (before launching legal proceedings):

    • in terms of the result: solutions may emerge internally for requests that the judge would no doubt have declared unfounded.
    • in terms of relationships: acting against an employer or another worker in the court risks worsening relations, or even making them impossible.
    • in terms of prevention: deliberations are carried out internally on the causes of harmful situations and measures can be taken in the company to avoid a reoccurrence.
    • in terms of cost: the internal procedure does not involve any costs for the worker.
    • in terms of the burden of proof: the internal procedure gives the worker the possibility of obtaining more information in order to subsequently establish the facts in court.

    If a worker directly submits a case to the employment tribunal without going through the internal procedure (where this exists and can be legally applied), the judge can order this worker to use the internal procedure first. The legal proceedings are then suspended until the employer issues their decision on the measures they have decided to take, at the latest two months after receiving the advice of the Prevention Advisor for psychosocial aspects.

    Complaint to the inspectorate or the Supervision of Well-being at Work inspection service

    The worker must be aware that the option of appealing to the Supervision of Well-being at Work inspection service is de facto excluded if they submit a complaint to the police or the labour inspectorate with the intention of launching criminal proceedings or obtaining a legal examination of the case.

    In this event, a legal investigation under the direction of the magistrate is launched and the Supervision of Well-being at Work inspection service is bound by legal confidentiality.