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Dismissal of Czech totalitarian regimes institute head is invalid

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Prague, April 26 (CTK) – The Prague Municipal Court today upheld the verdict according to which the dismissal of Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) from his former post of head of the Totalitarian Regimes Study Institute (USTR) was unlawful.

As a result, Herman is still an employee of the USTR that ought to have offered a different job to him before his dismissal, which it failed to do, the court ruled.

“It was proven beyond any doubts that there was the vacant post of spokesman in the institute. It was expediently filled by a different employee,” Rene Fischer, chairman of the appeals panel, said.

“Such conduct is not protected by the Labour Code,” Fischer said.

He said Herman had university education and sufficient previous practice as a spokesman for the Czech Bishops’ Conference (CBK). Obviously he was able to hold the post.

By its failure to offer him the job, the USTR breached its legal duty, Fischer said.

Herman’s dismissal in April 2013 provoked a verbal exchange between the left and the right that accused one another of politicising the institute. A part of the USTR staff also stood up against the changes.

As a trained theologian, Herman was the CBK’s spokesman in the 1990s and 2000s and also collaborated with radio and television.

Herman protested both against his dismissal from the post and his sacking from the office.

The USTR argued that after Herman was dismissed from his post, it had no job for him that would be in harmony with the Labour Code, his skills and health condition.

It said it could not offer him the post of spokesman because it had already signed a contract with its current spokesman, Pavel Ryjacek.

USTR lawyer Eva Jandova pointed out that it would be absurd to employ Herman as the spokesman because right after his dismissal he started actively speaking against the institute in the media.

“In doing so, he violated the institute’s internal rules, ethical code and also the Labour Code that says that an employee has the duty of a certain loyalty towards the employer,” Jandova said.

Herman said earlier he did not insist on money, but on his cause itself and justice.

Established in 2007, the USTR is to examine the totalitarian era without any bias. However, its activities have been accompanied with disputes of both politicians and its employees and some experts have challenged its focus.


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