On March 22, 2021, after the broadcast of the first chapters of the documentary series dedicated to the life of Rocío Carrasco and all the repercussion generated in social networks, the program “Sálvame” announced the termination of the employment relationship of Antonio David Flores with the Mediaset group.
The dismissal was challenged in court by the employee. The Social Court No. 42 of Madrid was the judicial body in charge of resolving the matter in the first instance, declaring the dismissal null and void, by partially upholding the claim filed by the collaborator against La Fábrica de la Tele S.L. and Mediaset España Comunicación S.A.
The judgment of the aforementioned Labor Court declared the nullity of the dismissal based on the violation of the employee’s right to honor as a consequence of the way in which the dismissal was communicated and publicized, through a live program of maximum audience.
The decision indicates that there was a deliberate intention on the part of the employer that the employee was not aware of the dismissal until the time of the live broadcast of the program, so that the content of the program constituted a real letter of dismissal, regardless of what the employer stated in the written termination notice that was subsequently sent to the employee.
The dismissal was carried out by branding the employee as an abuser when the truth is that there is no court decision condemning him for the commission of these alleged acts, but on the contrary, the criminal proceedings against him were dismissed, so that the termination decision based on these circumstances constitutes a serious violation of his right to honor, which entailed the declaration of nullity of the dismissal.
In the first instance, the labor court, in addition to declaring the dismissal null and void, also ordered the company to pay damages in the amount of 50,000 euros.
The judgment was appealed by the production company before the High Court of Justice of the Community of Madrid, claiming infringement of Article 55.5 of the Workers’ Statute and various articles of the Constitution.
The appeal filed by the employer was dismissed, and the Court held that the employee’s right to honor had been violated, and that freedom of expression did not justify the conduct adopted by the employer.
A sensu contrario, the High Court of Justice of Madrid partially upheld the appeal filed by the plaintiff, and on April 29, 2023, issued a judgment in which it agreed to rectify the decision adopted at first instance in relation to the amount of compensation for pain and suffering damages, raising it to the notorious amount of 120,000 euros.
The condemned production company, dissatisfied with the decision reached in the appeal, filed an appeal in cassation before the Supreme Court, requesting the unification of doctrine as to when the review of the compensation set by the judge ”a quo”, the judge of the Social Court No. 42 of Madrid, is appropriate.
However, our Supreme Court has rejected the cassation appeal filed, declaring the finality of the judgment issued by the High Court of Justice of Madrid, stating that the difficult quantification of the moral damage justifies that it must be compensated when the violation of the fundamental right is requested and accredited.
Consequently, having exhausted all the possibilities of appeal existing in our legal system, the judgment has become final, and the employer must comply with it and compensate the television collaborator in the amounts ordered.
Article written by Cynthia Zárate