European court overturns Essent’s illegal workers fine

Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher was wrong to fine energy company Essent after one of its subcontractors employed 29 Turkish workers without proper papers, the European Court of Justice said on Thursday.

The case, which dates back to 2008, is based on a German subcontractor brought in by the energy giant to build a special construction using scaffolding.

The 33 non-EU nationals who worked for the subcontractor did not have work permits for the Netherlands, leading Asscher to fine Essent €264,000 for breaking Dutch employment law.

However, the court ruled that the foreigners, including 29 Turks, were correctly employed by the German firm Ekini Gerustbau and that this took presidence over Dutch legislation.

The verdict will have considerable repercussions because the ministry has fined a number of other companies in similar situations, the Financieele Dagblad says.

The Dutch Council of State, which is the Netherlands’ highest legal body, had earlier upheld the fines.

Read the court verdict


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