Deadline for applications: 14 June 2018
The Federation of International Civil Servants' Associations (FICSA) has organized a workshop on the role of staff representatives during investigations and disciplinary procedures within UN agencies to be held in Geneva on 27 June 2018. The exact location will be confirmed at a later date.
The workshop, which will be presented in English by Ms. Renuka Dhinakaran, one of the Federation’s legal advisors, is aimed at enhancing staff representatives’ knowledge, expertise and confidence in their role during investigations of and disciplinary procedures against international civil servants which are on the rise. Regrettably, these issues are not always addressed in detail in the internal laws of an international organization and even if they are addressed, there is an abject lack of clarity. Staff members are not always made aware of their rights, obligations and fundamental principles of law regarding investigations and disciplinary matters, which is a disadvantageous situation to be in, especially considering the fact that investigations and disciplinary procedures happen at very short notice. For these reasons, staff members invariably turn to staff representatives for assistance.
This workshop is therefore designed to serve as a master class in the fundamentals of the role of staff representatives in investigations and disciplinary procedures in international organizations. It will discuss specific aspects of investigation and disciplinary procedures as well as lessons learnt from the past. Some of the issues that to be addressed are as follows:
- What are the mandatory limits of the investigations? What problems have the investigators found in the cases that can serve as jurisprudence? Have conflicts of interest been resolved (and how)?
- What standards of evidence/proof are used (e.g. balance of probabilities; clear and convincing; beyond a reasonable doubt)? Are these differentiated according to the nature and severity of the misconduct/corresponding disciplinary measure?
- What is needed to bring a complaint or initiate an investigation? Who bears the burden of proof? Are there times when the onus will shift from one party to the other?
- When can a staff member (complainant or respondent) be accompanied by legal counsel?
- If a complainant or accused is not covered by legal insurance or does not have access to sufficient personal resources to engage independent legal counsel, should an organization have a duty to provide legal aid?
- If the investigation process has the potential to be traumatizing or re-traumatizing for the complainant, can the latter be accompanied by another third party (not necessarily legal counsel)?
- Can a staff member have access to an interpreter if English or French is not their first language?
- What is considered privileged information in an investigation process (i.e. legally protected as confidential)? Medical records? Consultation with a lawyer? Consultation with staff rep or staff adviser?
- What types of evidence are considered admissible/inadmissible? For example, would audio/video recordings made without the consent of both/all parties be admissible (e.g. where there is only “one-party consent”)?
- Do complaint/investigation/adjudication procedures include an opportunity for the parties and their counsel to review interview transcripts and challenge the admissibility of some elements of the interviews prior to adjudication (i.e. where a line of questioning is inappropriate and found to be contrary to investigative standards)?
This workshop is for staff representatives only and provided free-of-charge for FICSA dues-paying members*
For other participants, including staff representatives from non-FICSA member organizations a fee of CHF 200 per person will be charged. Members with consultative or observer status will however be granted a 30 per cent discount.
General information, including recommendations on hotel accommodation, will be sent directly to the participants along with the confirmation message.
To sign up please use the attached application form. Nominations should be signed by the President/Chair of the local staff association/union and sent to the FICSA Secretariat ficsa(at)unog.ch by no later than the above-mentioned deadline. Seats are limited and will be confirmed on a first-come first-served basis, irrespective of the duty station of assignment. It is therefore advisable to register well in advance of the deadline.
ALL TRAVEL-RELATED EXPENSES AND DSA MUST BE PROVIDED BY THE INDIVIDUAL STAFF ASSOCIATION/UNION OR ADMINISTRATION.
* BIOVERSITY - CERN - CTBTO - ECB - ESO - FAO (GS staff) – The Global Fund - IAEA - IARC – ICAO - ICCO – ICO - IDLO - IFAD - ILO/ITC Turin - IMO - IOC - IOM - IPU – ISSN - ITER - ITU - OPCW - OSCE - PAHO - SCBD - UNAIDS - UNESCO - UNFCCC - UNLB – UNRWA Lebanon - UNWTO - UPU - WDO - WHO - WIPO – WMO - WTO/OMC.