Ryanair employment contracts examined by the Court are drafted in English, subject to Irish law, with a jurisdiction clause providing that the Irish courts have jurisdiction. In those contracts, it was stipulated that the work of the employees concerned, as cabin crew, was regarded as being carried out in Ireland given that their duties are performed on board aircraft registered in that Member State. Those contracts nevertheless designate the Belgian Charleroi airport as the employees’ ‘home base’. Those employees start and end their working day at that airport, and they are contractually obliged to reside within an hour of their ‘home base’.
In that context, ECJ considers that, in disputes relating to their employment contracts, air crew members have the option of bringing proceedings before the courts of the place where they perform the essential part of their duties vis-à-vis their employer. Consequently, the national courts must determine that place in the light of all the relevant circumstances, an employee’s ‘home base’ being a significant indicator to that effect.
The Court states that a jurisdiction clause, concluded before the disputes arose, and seeking to prevent employees from bringing proceedings before courts which do however have jurisdiction under EU legislation in this field, is not enforceable against those employees.
The above said has been decided in joined Cases C-168/16 and C-169/16 on 14 September 2017.