Null and Void Termination. Freedom of Speech.

Null and void termination of a screenwriter of the Spanish National TV for having included the following lower third: “Leonor leaves Spain, like her grandfather”.

Company breached employee’s freedom of speech because the latter did not go beyond his right because

i) the lower third was not offensive to the Princess (although it was inappropriate and rude),

ii) it was published during a talk-show involving celebrities (not in the news, which are more serious),

iii) the employment contract does not prevent employees from using their freedom of speech, and

iv) there was a chyron that clarified the lower third.

The termination is disproportional because

a) the employee was not even a journalist,

b) he only worked for 5 months,

c) he had no supervisors,

d) it was the first time he was being reprimanded, and

e) he did not receive any training to this regard.

Company is also sentenced to pay the employee EUR 10,000 in damages for the fundamental right breach.

Appellate Court of Madrid – June 17, 2022

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