skip to content

Court Sides with Another Dismissed Ministry of Culture Employee

The Social Justice Center (SJC) announced on 26 October that the Tbilisi Court of Appeals sided with Guga Gogadze and declared his dismissal in January 2022 from his post as the Chief Specialist of the Procurement Service of the Georgian National Agency for Cultural Preservation under the Ministry of Culture to be illegal.

According to the organization, the Appeals Court ordered the agency to compensate Gogadze with backpay from the day of his dismissal until the Court’s decision. Gogadze also demanded compensation because it was impossible to reinstate him to his position at this stage. The Court only partially satisfied his request and ordered the agency to pay an additional GEL 3,000 (USD 1,090) to Gogadze.

“This decision by the Court on mass dismissals is the second precedent, which will be of special importance for the labor disputes of other dismissed workers in the cultural field. The Tbilisi City Court will consider these cases in the coming months,” the organization noted.

According to the SJC, Gogadze is one of the 70 people who were dismissed from various agencies under the Ministry after Tea Tsulukiani was appointed as the Minister of Culture.

Significantly, the Ministry of Culture has repeatedly come under fire since Tsulukiani’s appointment, which some have said maintains a policy based on keeping loyal employees and not on actual qualifications. In that context, she has often been accused of “persecuting” free opinion in the agencies under her authority and firing employees on “political grounds.”

Similar allegations surrounded Minister Tsulukiani during her time as the Minister of Justice when the agency was forced to pay GEL 332,172 (USD 114,943) to employees who were dismissed illegally.

Georgian National Agency for Cultural Preservation Responds

The Georgian National Agency for Cultural Preservation responded to the “inaccurate” information disseminated by the SJC. It stated that “it seems that it has become a trend for various individuals to declare lawsuits that have been lost against the Ministry of Culture or its affiliates as winners.”

According to the agency, in reality, the court “both in the first instance and in the appellate instance, refused to restore Guga Gogadze to the same or equal position in the agency.”

The agency also noted that the Court ordered Gogadze to be compensated only for the forced missed time from the day of his release until the ruling. In addition, Gogadze’s second request for compensation in the amount of GEL 28,000 was only partially satisfied by the Court, which ruled that the agency must pay him GEL 3,000.

On its part, the SJC addressed the agency’s claims on 27 October and asserted that Gogadze had demanded that his dismissal be declared illegal and that he be compensated for time missed as well as for his inability to return to his original post or an equivalent position.

“It should be emphasized that the appellate court fully satisfied the first two demands…,” they said, adding that the Court also partially satisfied the third request by ordering the agency to pay Gogadze GEL 3,000.

The SJC further underscored that the agency’s claim that Gogadze’s requests were not satisfied in both the first and second instance “does not correspond with the truth,” noting that his request for reinstatement had not been part of his claim in the first instance.

Hence, the SJC noted, Gogadze’s reinstatement could not have been considered by the Court since it was not part of the claim in the first instance.

The SJC concluded that had the agency’s claims been true, the Court would not have ordered it to compensate Gogadze.

Note: This article was updated on 28 October at 13:00 to reflect the agency’s comments and the SJC’s consequent response.

Also Read:

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


Back to top button