OSH info – Was she just helping her aunt? It’s illegal work, court decided
Help with business from relatives can become very expensive, under certain circumstances it can be illegal employment. It is confirmed by the verdict of the Regional Court in Brno, which is believed to be the first one in the Czech Republic, who managed to prove illegal work with relatives.
A young woman must now pay fifteen thousand crowns od fine for serving customers in the Vietnamese store at a time when her aunt, the owner of the store, had to leave. According to the inspectors she didn’t have any contract. Also an argument that there was no reward for this temporary assistance didn’t help the women.
According to the inspectors, their evaluation has been confirmed by Regional Court in Brno, it was an illegal work hidden behind the excuse of short and free service.
This is another important decision in disputes about work assistance of relatives. In previous cases, the state failed to prove in court that it was indeed illegal work. The Supreme Administrative Court in two disputes defended traders from Prague and Brno and decided that they don’t have to pay a fine. If the state wants to punish business owners for an illegal employment it must prove they work illegally, the court said.
I was just taking care about it
The court in Brno was recently dealing with a case from Znojmo. The inspectors came to the shop at lunchtime, when the helping niece was alone in the store.
Both women were defending themselves that it was just help within family. “This help was conducted in accordance with the relationships within the family, when this activity could be performed by anyone else,” the young woman said with an addition that her help was free and it was only taking care of the store.
After the inspection and under threat of fine the owner of the store concluded a contract to perform work with her niece, the reward should be 50 CZK.
But inspectors of the State Labor Inspection Office decided that a woman must pay a fine of 15,000 crowns. According to them, the help of the niece was a clear illegal job and it fulfilled all the conditions characterizing hidden employment.
According to them, there was a relationship of superiority and subordination. The niece had to follow the guidance of the owner of the store and so could not act independently. “At least on the day of the inspection she was serving customers, taking the money and giving the goods. Nothing can change anything about it, not even the fact there was an aunt – niece relationship. The Employment Act or any other legislation don’t know any exemption from the prohibition of illegal work for this level of relationship, ” the inspectors decided.
The young woman then also failed with an action at the Regional Court in Brno. It confirmed that the woman has to pay 15 000 CZK for illegal work as saleswoman. The judges decided that it was a normal employment relationship, fulfilling all the conditions of dependent work arising from the Labor Code.
So-called dependent work is performed in a relationship of superiority of an employer and inferiority of an employee, on behalf of the employer, according to the instructions of the employer and the employee performs it personally. Dependent work must be performed for wages, salary or remuneration for work at the expense and responsibility of the employer, during working hours at the employer’s workplace or at another agreed place.
According to the judges all of these conditions have been met. “The woman was selling the goods during working hours that was defined in the way that this work would be done in the time of absence of the owner of the store, the work was being performed directly on the employer’s workplace and the court has no doubt that this work was being performed for an agreed remuneration,” the judges decided.
“In this case it was a performance of illegal work, as the woman didn’t have any contract or agreement with her employer according to applicable legislation, although she was performing such work (a “classical” work of saleswoman”),” said judged in their decision.