international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

Argentina: An employee that suffers a drug addiction problem is protected against discriminative dismissal

The Labour Courts of the City of Buenos Aires, in the case – “P.N.A c/ C. S.A.C.I s/despido” – have recently ruled that the dismissal of an employee that was suffering a drug addiction problem was discriminative and therefore, ordered the employer to pay him moral damages compensation.

Labour Law 20,744 as well as Anti Discrimination Law No. 23,592 and international treaties entered by Argentina prohibit discrimination. If an employee is discriminated because of race, religion, age, gender, disability or political or union activities, the employer can be ordered to compensate the employee for any damages caused.

In this particular case, the Labour Court considered that due to the fact that the employee had a history of drug addiction problems and that he was terminated the day after he returned from his last medical leave, the employer had the burden to prove that the dismissal was not related to the employee´s drug addiction problem.

In this last respect, the Labour Court concluded that while the employer alleged that the employee was dismissed due to a reorganisation of the company, the employee was the only employee dismissed. This circumstance led the Labour Court to conclude that the employer failed to prove the alleged cause for the dismissal, since according to the Labour Court, there is no such reorganisation that includes only one employee. Therefore, the Labour Court concluded that the employee was dismissed due to this drug addiction.

Therefore, the Labour Court ruled that the dismissal was discriminative and breached Anti Discrimination Law No. 23,592, and ordered the employer to pay him moral damages compensation, in accordance with Law No. 23,592.