Recent developments in the EU, including protections for probationer employees; trade secrets

Probationary periods not covered by EU law

In a case referred from Spain, the Court of Justice decided that the contract of an employee subject to a one-year probationary period could not be categorised as a fixed-term contract, and that probationary periods fell outside EU law and therefore outside the court’s jurisdiction, as article 151 TFEU which sets out EU objectives in social policy does not contain any specific reference to probationary periods in employment contracts.

Views returned on trade secrets proposals

A draft report on the European Commission’s proposed directive on the protection of trade secrets largely supports the Commission’s proposal to introduce a set of instruments enabling businesses to protect themselves and assert their rights in cases of industrial espionage, but makes it clear that trade secrets should only be protected where the person relying on them has acted with a legitimate purpose in view. Concerns remain about the possible freezing effects that the proposal could have on worker mobility, particularly that of the most qualified workers who are likely to come into contact with sensitive information. 

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