The head of the department of the district state administration dismissed the subordinate by his order. Subsequently, the administrative court reinstated the employee and collected from the employer in his favor the average earnings for the entire period of forced absenteeism. These funds were paid. The prosecutor, who acted in the interests of the state, filed a lawsuit and asked the court to recover from the manager the damage caused as a result of the payment of financial support to an illegally dismissed employee.
Recovery of retroactive damages from an employee for wrongful dismissal: jurisdictional issues
The first-instance court upheld the claim, but the appellate court overturned its decision and closed the proceedings in the case, explaining to the plaintiff that consideration of such a case falls under the jurisdiction of administrative courts.
The Supreme Court, as part of the panel of judges of the Third Judicial Chamber of the Civil Court of Cassation, annulled the decision of the Court of Appeal and referred the case to the Court of Appeal for further consideration, making the following legal conclusions.
The criteria for the demarcation of judicial jurisdiction, that is, the conditions provided by law under which a certain case is subject to consideration according to the rules of one or another type of judicial procedure, are the subject composition of legal relations, the subject of the dispute and the nature of disputed material legal relations as a whole.
According to the content of Part 1 of Art. 2 of the Civil Code of Ukraine, the task of the administrative judiciary is to protect the rights, freedoms and interests of natural persons, rights and interests of legal entities in the field of public-legal relations from violations by state authorities.
A subject of power may apply to the court with an administrative claim, in particular against citizens of Ukraine who are not subjects of power, exclusively for preventive judicial control of their own activities and in cases specified by law.
The dispute will have a private law nature if it is caused by the violation of a private right (usually property) of a certain subject, which is subject to protection in the manner provided by the legislation for the sphere of private law relations, even if the violation of private law was caused by the powerful management actions of the subject of power .
Thus, the case is not subject to consideration in the order of administrative proceedings based only on its subject composition.
When determining the subject jurisdiction of cases, the courts must proceed from the essence of the right and/or interest for which the person sought protection, the stated claims, the nature of the disputed legal relationship, the content and legal nature of the circumstances in the case.
The right to recover damages caused by the illegal dismissal of an employee from his position is enshrined in Articles 134 and 237 of the Labor Code of Ukraine.
The current legislation does not contain additional grounds for compensation for property damage from guilty officials, by whose order or order the employee was dismissed in violation of the requirements of the law or the execution of the court decision on reinstatement was delayed.
The subject of the lawsuit in this case is compensation for damage in the manner of recourse without the need to provide an assessment and establish the illegality of the actions of the official (defendant), whose relevant actions caused such damage, since the illegality of the defendant's actions was established by court decisions on the illegality of the dismissal of a person from public service and additional legal analysis does not need
The Supreme Court noted that the appellate court came to an unfounded conclusion to close the proceedings in the case, because the subject composition, the subject of the dispute, the method chosen by the prosecutor to protect the violated rights and the nature of the disputed legal relationship, the dispute is a private law dispute and is subject to consideration according to the rules of civil proceedings.
Resolution of the Supreme Court of December 22, 2021 in case No. 658/28/21 (proceedings No. 61-15142св21) – https://reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/102149408 .