Mon, Jul 02, 2007 - Page 2 News List

EVA ordered to compensate pilot

ENTITLEMENT John Dunton, who had worked as a pilot for the carrier for more than six years, will receive a compensation package worth an extra NT$1.17 million

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

A foreign pilot dismissed by EVA Airways in 2001 as part of its workforce reduction after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US won a lawsuit against the airline.

The Taipei District Court ruled last week that the airline must pay an additional NT$1.17 million (US$35,600) as part of its termination of contract payment to John Dunton, who had worked at the airline for more than six years.

EVA Air, the nation's second-largest air carrier, terminated its continuous contract with Dunton by serving him a one-day notice on Oct. 3, 2001. The airline gave him NT$298,737 in severance pay, plus a one-way ticket home.

The pilot filed a civil complaint last December, claiming his severance package did not correspond to what he was entitled as per the Labor Standards Law (勞動基準法).

Article 16 of the law stipulates that when a worker has worked continuously for more than three years, an employer wishing to terminate a contract must give formal notice 30 days in advance, or pay the worker for the advance notice period, in addition to a severance payment.

The article further states that the calculation of the severance payment should be based on the employee's average wage over the six months prior to termination and that the employee is entitled to a month's pay for each full year served.

EVA Air argued that according to Article 126 of the Civil Code (民法), wages in lieu of notice and severance payments may only be claimed within five years.

However, the court ruled that the payments sought by Dunton constituted a "deferred penalty payment," which can be claimed within 15 years.

In May, EVA Air lost a similar case when the Taipei District Court ruled that it must pay Ljubinovic Rada, a pilot from the former Yugoslavia who worked for the airline for six-and-a-half years, an additional NT$1.5 million for failing to give him severance pay in accordance with the Labor Standards Law after dismissing him in 2001.

EVA Air lost the case, although its lawyers argued in court that Rada had already received NT$372,000 -- the equivalent of three months' salary -- plus a "compensation fee" and a free ticket to Europe.

EVA Air can appeal both cases to the Taiwan High Court.

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