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Labour disputes

A worker posted in the Republic of Lithuania shall have an option to protect their infringed rights by filing an application with a labour dispute commission.

What is a labour dispute commission? 
A labour dispute commission is a mandatory institution for hearing labour disputes on the law and for resolution of individual labour disputes and collective labour disputes on the law. Labour dispute commissions function under the territorial divisions of the State Labour Inspectorate. At present, there are 22 labour dispute commissions: 7 in Vilnius, 5 in Kaunas, 3 in Klaipėda, 2 in Šiauliai, 2 in Panevėžys, 2 in Alytus and 1 in Telšiai. Utena and Tauragė counties are served, respectively, by the Panevėžys and Telšiai labour dispute commissions while Marijampolė, Birštonas, Prienai and Kalvarija counties are served by the Alytus labour dispute commission. From July 1st of 2017, after new Labor Code came into force, the Labor Dispute Commettee also deals with disputes concerning the dismissal of a worker, legality of removal from work, and non-pecuniary damage, which was previously settled by the courts.

What is an individual labour dispute?
An individual labour dispute over the law is a disagreement between an employee or other parties of employment relations, one party, and an employer, the other party, arising from the conclusion, amendment, execution or termination of an employment contract, also due to failure to (properly) follow the provisions of labour law in employment relations between the employer and the employee. A party to a labour dispute may also be a former employee, a person who expressed willingness to enter into a labour agreement and was refused, or a person entitled to a remuneration of an employee or other payments related to employment relations.
For example, the disputes may arise over unpaid remuneration, legitimacy of dismissal, removal from work, failure to compensate material damages or grant leave, etc.

What is a collective labour dispute about the law? 
A collective labour dispute about the law is a disagreement between the representatives of workers, one party, and an employer or employer organisations, the other party, over the default provisions of labour law or mutual agreements.

Who can file a case with a labour dispute commission? 
The application can be filed with a labour dispute commission both by workers (or worker groups) and employees, representatives of trade unions or employer organisations, whenever their rights are infringed.

What is the period for filing a labour dispute with a commission?
Within 3 months or, in case of unjustified removal or dismissal from work and violations of a collective agreement, within 1 month of finding out (or when they should have found out) about the violation of rights. The missed period for filing an application may be extended by a decision of the labour dispute commission if the commission finds that the reasons stated in the application are justified. If the commission makes a decision not to extend the filing period, a claim may be filed at a court within one month of the decision of the labour dispute commission concerning the court hearing of the dispute in law.

What documentation should be submitted with an application to hear a labour dispute? 
The key document is a detailed description of the situation in the prescribed form. Such an application is filed in Lithuanian, in writing or by email and signed electronically; the commission must also be provided with other documents, such as employment contracts, remuneration payment slips, work schedules, and work-time records.

Exemplary application form.

How are labour disputes heard and how are decisions made?
After receiving an application from an employee or employer, the labour dispute commission will review the provided documentation and, if needed, interview company employees and collect other necessary information. On a scheduled date, both parties to the labour dispute (employer and employee) will be invited to the commission hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to reconcile both parties. In case of failure to reconcile, the commission shall vote on a decision. All members of the commission have equal votes, i.e. none of them have a casting vote. The commission may also make a decision in absentia of the parties.

What is the period for the resolution of a labour dispute? 
The commission must resolve a labour dispute within one (1) month from the receipt of the application. In individual cases this term might be extended for one (1) month more.

Is there a fee charged for the resolution of labour disputes?
No, this procedure is provided by the state free of charge.

How are the interests of employees and employers represented?
To ensure the effective and transparent resolution of labour disputes, a labour dispute commission consists both of the representatives of employer organisations and trade unions. They are appointed in rotation from a list approved by the Chief State Labour Inspector of the Republic of Lithuania.

What decisions can be made by the labour dispute commission?
The labour dispute commission shall have the right to: 1) oblige the other party to restore rights that were violated due to a breach of the provisions of labour law or mutual agreements; 2) award compensation for material or non-material damage, or, in cases provided for in the provisions of the labour law or agreements, payment of penalties or interest; 3) terminate or modify the legal relations; 4) oblige actions specified in other laws or the labour law provisions.

What should be done if a party is not satisfied with the decision of the labour dispute commission? 
The decisions of the labour dispute commission are binding on the parties and enforceable per civil procedure regulations. But if an employee or an employer disagrees with a decision of the labour dispute commission, they may file a case with a court where the dispute will be heard once again.

How to access a labour law case file?
The parties to a labour law case or their representatives shall have access to the case file on work days, except on the day of the court hearing. The case file may be reviewed on the premises of the State Labour Inspectorate (SLI), at the time agreed in advance with the chairperson or secretary of the labour dispute commission (or, in their absence, with the head of the division of work organisation of labour dispute commissions of the SLI or another authorised person).
The case material must stay on the premises of the SLI at all times. Persons wishing to review a case file must present their identity document and the representatives must present proof of their right to review a case file, sign on the back of the case, and state the review date and time. Persons reviewing a case file shall be prohibited from bending the pages, making notes, striking out or underlining, tearing or causing any other damage to the case file.
If persons entitled to review a case file need to make copies of the documents in the case file, they must submit a request in writing and obtain the permission of the chairperson of the labour dispute commission to make copies of such documents. After permission to make copies of the case file is received, these copies shall be produced no later than within three (3) work days.
Please note that the safety, confidentiality, non-disclosure and/or prevention of the use of data provided by the SLI for unintended purposes shall be the responsibility of the subject who received such data, as provided for by law.

Is a decision of the labour dispute commission taken into consideration by a court hearing the labour dispute?
The court is independent when making decisions; the court will rule solely based on the merits of the case. Nevertheless, when making a decision, a judge may refer to the material collected by the labour dispute commission in the dispute in question and to the decision of the labour dispute commission.

The contact details of labour dispute boards (Lith. DGK):

Vilniaus I DGK - (8 5) 210 4733
Vilniaus II DGK - (8 5) 2104746
Vilniaus III DGK - (8 5) 210 4731
Vilniaus IV DGK - (8 5) 233 7839
Vilniaus V DGK - (8 5) 210 4742
Vilniaus VI DGK - (8 5) 233 7839
Vilniaus VII DGK - (8 5) 260 3384
Kauno I DGK - (8 37) 328 166
Kauno II DGK - (8 37) 328 170
Kauno III DGK - (8 37) 328 184
Kauno IV DGK - (8 37) 32 81 71
Kauno V DGK - (8 37) 22 06 88
Klaipėdos I DGK - (8 46) 495 545
Klaipėdos II DGK - (8 46) 494 759
Klaipėdos III DGK - (846) 210 207
Šiaulių I DGK - (8 41) 524 633
Šiaulių II DGK - (841) 524634
Panevėžio I DGK - (8 45) 433 615
Panevėžio II DGK- (8 45) 469 166
Alytaus DGK - (8 315) 75 320
Telšių DGK - (8 444) 60 664
Alytaus II DGK - (8 315) 61150