When harassment gains a new meaning: EPO takes hard line on Hardon

Merpel has recently written here about the constitutional crisis that is about to beset the Administrative Council (AC) of the European Patent Office (EPO), being urged by the EPO President to disregard the constitutional safeguard of Article 23 of the European Patent Convention that protects the independence of the members of the Boards of Appeal (BoA), and which requires a proposal of the Enlarged Board of Appeal in order to remove from office a BoA member.

Ordinary EPO employees who are not members of the Boards of Appeal have no such constitutional safeguard (although it remains to be seen how effective this safeguard will be anyway) and can be disciplined and dismissed at the whim of the President and those who wield power in his name.  The internal disciplinary appeal process is only advisory: an employee can obtain a favourable decision on appeal, only for this to be disregarded by the President.  The employee's only recourse is then to the International Labour Organisation's Appeal Tribunal (ILO-AT), which has such a backlog that cases take years to be heard.

A number of stories have been circulating, alleging institutional harassment of EPO employees by the EPO administration.  These frequently relate to those employees who are active in the EPO union SUEPO (which is not officially recognised by the EPO), and/or are members of the Staff Committees (which are part of the organisational framework of the EPO, but seem to be rarely listened to).  The President promulgated new rules for elections to the Staff Committees, which appeared to have the intention of getting more people elected who were not SUEPO members, but he appears to have not achieved this aim.

Merpel has hitherto been reluctant to identify individuals involved in disputes with the EPO, but now that one of them has been named in other media sources, she need not in this instance concern herself with discretion: the EPO administration is singling out for special treatment Elizabeth Hardon, who is Chair of SUEPO Munich and also Chair of the Local Staff Committee in Munich.  Ms Hardon has already been demoted for alleged "harassment", but Merpel understands that the act complained of was a single sentence written in her official capacity, and that the person purporting to be harassed by this was a senior member of the EPO administration.  This does not correspond to any understanding of harassment that Merpel has encountered before.

Now, in an escalation of action, Ms Hardon was summoned to a disciplinary hearing on 10 September 2015 relating to allegations of harassment, but the nature of these allegations was not specified.  The summons was however published on the Techrights blog and elsewhere.  This apparently being contrary to the requirement to maintain confidentiality in the case of disciplinary investigations, Ms Hardon was then requested by the EPO's Principal Director Human Resources to name all persons to whom the summons had been disclosed, as reported on the FOSS Patents blog.  Ms Hardon's lawyer responded by challenging the legitimacy of requiring the accused employee to keep the fact of the investigation secret, as well as other aspects of the investigation process.  This letter can be seen on the SUEPO website here, at 21/09/2015.  The same lawyer has since written to the Administrative Council and to the President of the EPO, complaining of institutional harassment of Ms Hardon, and the letter has been posted and reported on the FOSS Patents blog.  It remains to be seen whether any of these pleas will have any effect.

The SUEPO website reports (see item of 09/10/15) that further demonstrations will continue at the EPO.  A demonstration in Munich on 14 October 2015 will focus on the issue of institutional harassment of EPO staff.

Merpel discerns that there is more widespread concern about the issues affecting the Boards of Appeal than those relating to the rest of the employees of the EPO, whose position is nevertheless much more vulnerable.  She hopes that these employees will not be forgotten.
When harassment gains a new meaning: EPO takes hard line on Hardon When harassment gains a new meaning: EPO takes hard line on Hardon Reviewed by Merpel on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 Rating: 5


  1. Principal Director 43 is actually in charge of a department now named Inhumane Ressources.

    She is largelly responsible for the current social mess (not to mention of the design of illegal policies).

    She is the very one who should be fired.

  2. Greetings from Geneva says...

    It is up to the individual to question/proof that the EPO administration is wrong, by doing so he/she will be blacklisted and has to face some kind of institutional harassment (active or passive). Furthermore the EPO administration and most of all the President is ill advised by its legal department and has a large HR database with prepared communications to turn down individuals and defend its own policies. This organisation has a very nihilistic approach towards legitimate staff concerns/expectations and handling of staff problems. Human resources is mainly about recruiting and excessive staff control.

  3. "Furthermore the EPO administration and most of all the President is ill advised by its legal department and has a large HR database with prepared communications to turn down individuals and defend its own policies."

    Well I never ...!
    The poor President is being led astray by his rogue legal advisors.
    And there was me thinking that they were just carrying out his orders with anticipatory obedience ....

  4. Dear Elisabeth
    I wanted to say thank you for your fight. I have read your letter and felt ashamed, revolted, disgusted. By these people who judge and harass you without apparently any proportion to what you are supposedly accused. Who are these people? What are their skills? Do they have any ideas of the human consequences of their acts? Followers without imagination, executors of low tasks? Using their position to oppress the real human and added value of the EPO. I admire your courage and your resilience and hope the day will come they will have to respond of their disgusting behavior.
    All the best and courage.

  5. Dear Elizabeth, no one will ever be able to thank you enough for everything you have done in defence of the rights of the staff of the EPO. It is not you but the president and his administration who is to blame for every single wrong going at the EPO these days. Exposing the harassment policy followed by this administration to any dissenting voice is another of these gestures of courage. Well done, thank you, thank you, thank you and all the rest of you at SUEPO.

  6. "The day will come ..." says it all. We owe an immeasurable debt to Elizabeth for her courage. She stands up when many of us don't. She has risked so much in our name in pursuit of justice. Thank you, Elizabeth. Our thoughts are with you.


  7. Sorry People, Elizabeth WILL be dismissed - if ever you have learned something so far ...

    But then ask yourself: what are you ready to do after all she did for you?


  8. To Mork

    "Our thoughts are with you".

    Your thoughts are not enough, my lad.

    What will you DO when she will be dismissed?

  9. Objective observer, not management memberTuesday 13 October 2015 at 21:25:00 GMT+1

    I take the risk of being screamed down, but I would like to say that things are never black and white. Mrs Hardon has some good sides, but she also showed to be as daft and stupid as PD 4.3 in numerous situations. Part of the mess we are in now is due to her blatant incapacity to act for the good of the vast majority of staff, sticking to her principles and not realising that the time might have changed. Her unconditional support for some staff member who abused the system has not only brought her sympathy.
    She is not the innocent victim she claims to be now, even if she is presently ill treated by the administration under the control of BB's minions. It is a battle between two egos, that of the President and that of Mrs Hardon. It is not difficult to see who will be loosing. That is the sad fact.
    In the past most of the chairperson of SUEPO ended up one moment or another in the middle to upper management of the office. I could not see her in such a position. She is by far too dogmatic.

  10. Bringbackalib...

    For whom Els tolls:Els tolls for thee.

  11. @ Anonymous Objective observer, not management member said...

    dear colleague, I confess I was always astonished by people like you, commentators comfortably seated in a chair, passive but with a firm opinion on those who stand to defend others (and may fail whilst trying).

    Els is not God, never claimed to be. The vast majority of staff at EPO is passive and prefers to abide by shameful undemocratic rules imposed by fear. Fair enough. Els at least tried with others few guted staff reps to oppose the current debacle.

    She did not fail. This is a collective failure. I am proud to have been represented by someone like her who again tried to do something when others looked at their feet.

    Els has done nothing from what is currently reproached to her in a fabricated witch-hunt-like procedure initiated by PD43 who hates Els since the very beginning, since she is by far more intelligent and knowledgeable than herself.

    Plese do not shoot on the ambulance : if Els falls, you/I/we will be next on the line. No one will dare to stand as staff reps except carefully selected management friends... What will you gain from this ? nothing since reforms will be passed WITH consent of a fake staff reps...


  12. @ Anonymous Objective observer, not management member

    ... and please tell, which recent rules introduced for "the good of the vast majority of staff" did she oppose exactly?

  13. Thanks Els. I propose to increase the membership fees, change the statute if necessary and pay your full salary.

  14. @ anonymous 22:46

    and btw why not investigate the MILLIONS OF EUR "spent" (euphemism here) in non-existing IT projects, the buildingS "investments", the president top floor presidential suite, the luxury flights, 5 stars' hotel rooms and expensive fancy restaurants with fancy expensive wines, the cigars, the luxury limousines...

    the EPO has become a rather obscene circus in which it is easy to shoot on staff reps and union official as a smokescreen for blatant failure of totally incompetent and corrupt top management

  15. @Objective observer, not management member

    "It is a battle between two egos, that of the President and that of Mrs Hardon."

    Saying this is like trying to justify a refusal by the fact that you don't like the representative's hair style...
    The question is not why A is fighting B, the question is why the upper management of this organization is dismissing an elected staff representative and a union chairperson?

    "In the past most of the chairperson of SUEPO ended up one moment or another in the middle to upper management of the office."

    You do have a very interesting point of view regarding the career of union leaders. A union is supposed to be a counter power, not a career option...

  16. staff is urged to show solidarity with their toughest spearhead.
    Don't let Els alone and show up in the street!

  17. @snoop:
    The question is not why A is fighting B, the question is why the upper management of this organization is dismissing an elected staff representative and a union chairperson?

    What if this union chairperson was responsible for the various events that led all elected non-suepo staff reps to resign from their positions within a matter of months? There are things that an employee can do that really should get him or her dismissed.

    What EPO staff desperately needs is a completely fresh staff representation that does not gamble EVERYTHING on bringing down BB. But SUEPO will make sure they won't get replaced.

    "In the past most of the chairperson of SUEPO ended up one moment or another in the middle to upper management of the office."

    You do have a very interesting point of view regarding the career of union leaders. A union is supposed to be a counter power, not a career option...

    Objective observer merely stated an objective fact. The former PD in charge of the investigation unit is just one example of how the careers of union leaders used to end. Obviously times have changed also in this respect.

    (Regarding the "single sentence" that lead to demotion... I seem to remember it was considerably more serious.)

  18. If it was more serious than a single sentence, then why did the DC unanimously voted in her faver? Were all members of DC from the Union or what? And I suppose, the only one who saw the light and took the right decision to punish Els was BB? All makes perfect sense!



  19. (Regarding the "single sentence" that lead to demotion... I seem to remember it was considerably more serious.)

    And I remember that the was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Disciplinary Committee, as reported on her letter to the AC - but probably you are right: SUEPO was responsible for the various events that led the Committee to issue a wrong decision ...

  20. Els is punished and harassed because she dared to stand up, peacefully and in her function of elected staff rep. in front of a reactionary power using any means, including illegal, to break her.

    The forces in presence are so disproportionated and the illegality of the means used against her so blatant that she should at least deserve respect and empathy.

  21. Just trying to do my job said:

    @Another observer

    I don´t know who you are, but your comments about Ms Hardon represent very much a minority viewpoint. The vast majority of people regard her as brave, intelligent, honest and straight-talking.

  22. Objective observer and another observer,
    While personality clashes and difficult personalities may not be helpful, the treatment of disciplinary cases should have a legal basis and be based on facts. Since I do not know Ms Hardon I have to rely on those to assess the case.
    As a result, I would refer to her previous case where a disciplinary committee, chaired at that time by a DG3 board member, considered her actions and found her not guilty of them. That formed the committee's recommendation to the president (he must make the decision). I think it was unanimous in a committee of both staff and management nominees, but perhaps someone else can confirm that 'fact'.
    The president, who would normally follow the decisions or apply some form of softening of a recommended punishment, decided to ignore their recommendation entirely and found her guilty on the basis that they didn't understand what they were doing. Soon after the neutral/independent chairman was replaced by a DG1 contracted PD who relies on BB for his not re-appointment. Ms Hardon then was demoted.
    Now, personalities may be clashing (I'm not close enough to either to know), but a danger arises when those who have the power use their power capriciously. An angry man with no power is less worrying than an angry man with his finger on a trigger.


  23. "found her guilty on the basis that they didn't understand what they were doing"

    You mean like in the case of the EBA that, according to the President, should have dismissed the suspended member of the BOA but failed to do so?

    Woha, there seems to be a pattern here ...

  24. Objective observer, not management memberWednesday 14 October 2015 at 09:33:00 GMT+1

    @ disgusted union official
    @ snoop
    The problem of SUEPO in the recent years is its attitude of blind denial that things are changing and the refusal to accept any changes. By doing so, it encouraged those abusing the system to continue, being certain that they would be supported in their (wrong)doing.
    By refusing to think of any changes, this opened the road to ever drastic changes, not only for those who abused the system, but for all staff. Here SUEPO has a direct responsibility.
    Very hard battles have been fought in the past, for instance the salary method. It would have been easy to simply say no to any change. Union leaders at the time did fight and obtained more than what appeared possible originally. It is this type of union leaders who moved up to management functions, as they showed that they were able to take up responsibility. An eminent union member has moved from this position to PD Admin, and he is certainly the exception which confirms the rule. He has not changed his radical views. Simply instead of screaming at the then management, he now screams abuse at his staff.
    Simply saying NO is indeed a collective failure. This was the only thing the present President waited for in order to hack into the system.

  25. Sounds like a job for the Large Hardon Collider...

  26. we are the office

    @another observer said:
    "The former PD in charge of the investigation unit is just one example of how the careers of union leaders used to end."

    What a wonderful career. From staff representative to Head of Gestapo.

  27. @ Objective observer, not management member said...

    Bravo !! I read your posts with a great delight.

    I love your objectivity which is about at the level of that of PD43 !! you sincerely deserve a double step + promotion for your efforts to discredit the staff representation (or are you from Control Risks, communication branch ?)

    Your cunning communication exercise aside, the current staff rep / union from which I am an official, never said (contrary to your "objective" assertion) a bold no to anything.

    We systematically presented reasoned opinions as to why some elements of the forced reformed where either illegal, anti-social or both. We systematically presented our expertise to redress those. We were mocked, ridiculed, attacked, threatened.

    Our documents were systematically discarded without any discussion since either the MAC did not understand their technically complex content (you should see their empty eyes when we present details... creepy!) or they were full of themselves and wanted to rule as they saw fit.

    My dear colleague if your pro-management line of argumentation helps you to better cope with your presence at a workplace which has now shifted towards more of a working camp than of a model organisation, I can understand you but please stop your smear capaign of those who do real work for masses the majority of which unfortunately abide by fear.

    As to your friend the PD administration (the one in the department of which 3 out of the 5 suicides occurred...this is a FACT), you should now see him crawling in front of Mr Battistelli, the spectacle is really impressive and I bet that BB enjoys to contemplate his self-humiliation. This is precisely what I hope never to become : a mere traitor ready to sell those he led in the past for a higher position in the hierarchy.

    Not sure this is the kind of staff representation needed in front of a bunch of psychopaths such has those currently leading this organisation to a slaughter.

    Battistelli et al have all power, can take all decisions. they are responsible for the current mess. not the staff representation.

  28. @ Upset Staff Rep

    Please, do no feed the Troll.

    @ Objective observer

    Listen, I get your arguments and I'm willing to give you the benefit of doubt: please, provide one or more examples supporting your theory.

    Here I am: convince me.


  29. indeed what is management responsible for if not to

    a)avoid social disputes
    b) solve them swiftly when they occur ???????

    the EPO is not a french colony. the current EPO direction has failed miserably. they should have known in 2015 that they could not solved social discontent by fear and punishment.

    Of course when you promote a low level manager of the securite sociale to principal director of an international organisation, it takes no rocket scientist to predict a biiiiig mess.



  30. have you seen this one : http://techrights.org/2015/10/14/more-epo-bans/

  31. @insecurite sociale:

    Or make out of the embattled head honcho of a very minor IP office whose activity essentially consisted of collecting [and "redistributing"] the rent collected from granted European patents, and where the domestic patent granting before its EPC accession may not have occupied more than a low, single-digit, number of EPO search and substantive examiners, the lord and master of almost 1000 times as many...

  32. Elliot Ness said....
    To the loyal and obedient members of the Administrative Council of the EPO: thank you for publishing in this report http://www.epo.org/modules/epoweb/acdocument/epoweb2/124/en/CA-16-14_en.pdf the financial amount that the president gives to you, no strings attached, in order to obtain your unconditional support, "...A financial envelope of 13m EUR was made available by the EPO to support direct cost of co-operation with Member States...". How many AC representatives must top up their ....., tax free, thanks to these generous 13-million euros.

    No EPO employee, whether a BoA member or the Chair of the Staff Union herself, will stand between the AC representatives and these much appreciated 13-million euros

  33. @Korinthenkacker

    The patent statistics can be found on p.32 of the annual report for 2014.

    The office has a total of 98 staff members (covering all branches of IP and staff grades).


  34. a survivor....

    The above discussion just shows how the mind of each of us at the EPO is meanwhile twisted and blurred... how having to work (and live) under such a regime affects us....
    The situation has meanwhile lasted for so long (way too long) that some of us are now convinced that the defender of our rights it to be attacked for defending them, that quantity is actually quality, that wrong is right and that right is wrong...I must say that in the middle of the desperation, I cannot avoid finding it interesting to see how people react under unbearable stress....how they loose their nerves or their ability to think, or how they simply shut down.... I myself recognise that I oscillate between behaviours...I still wasn't able to find peace in this situation (many appear to have the same problem).

    Anyway, what I wanted to tell you is that in one my "nerve losings" - don't remember any longer if when they attacked the invalids, removed our right to a lawyer if being investigated or invaded the privacy of our homes, suspended the DG3 colleague, or declared they would not follow a court sentencing them to simply speak with the union, the or any of the many other ocasions - anyway, on such a moment I went straight to Els and said something like: "I don't care is they ask us to stay outside of the building and not make noise, lets just simply go in and interrupt the meeting of the administrative council. This is simply unacceptable!!".
    She then looked into my eyes and calmly replied: "No, we don't do such things, we have the reason here, we always behave correctly...irrespective of their behaviour, no matter what. Understood?".
    This is Els, my staff rep. She is being, for years now, harassed by the current president of the office. Up to now she has managed to survive, but would someone please PLEASE stop this and put the perpetrator (not her) in order!!!!!!!!!!
    Hello AC....anybody there????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  35. So two people are being dismissed from the EPO, an examiner and a board member, and the whole EPO staff cries wolf.

    Boys and girls from the EPO, maybe you do not know, but in the real world people get fired all the time, and for far more trivial reasons: reorganization, new boss, you are the oldest, you are the youngest, I don't like you, etc... depending on the country, between a few weeks and a few months notice.

    Are we going to see articles in the IPKat every time someone in the IP profession gets dismissed ?

    Outside observer

  36. Under cover Union
    What we need at the EPO is a union similar to the one of the Ryanair pilots: a union with external leaders, that the president or ceo cannot dismiss or put under pressure. Or why not go even further and create a union with a virtual leadership, such that proposals and decisions are presented and voted on by members meeting on line, in an encrypted environment.

    The staff union SUEPO should reinvent itself and hire at least one secretary, one lobbyist and one legal expert, all of which are not EPO staff. These external people can challenge Battistelli, without risking dismissal like Elisabeth Hardon, and provide daily support to union members. Important Decisions are taken by all members voting online, such that the union committee and staff committee members cannot be held responsible by Mr. Battistelli.

    The EPO president hides behind his diplomatic immunity, so the union needs to hide behind an anonymous decision body or process, otherwise it seems likely that Mr. Battistelli will succeed in destroying the staff union and staff representation. He has already silenced a lot of opponents, simply by intimidation. Elisabeth Hardon is one of the bravest, but for how long can she survive this totally unfair battle?

  37. Rosinenfurzer

    At an average staff cost of about €15.5k per person, you can employ 12 of them for an average EPO staff cost.

    Sense of proportion please.

    Concerned Observer

  38. Outside observer,
    Not great on empathy? And your 'in the real world' is hardly the normal world and if you think that's normal then your view is a little skewed.

    In these cases, disciplinary measures according to a law have been invoked and the consequence for professionals is severe - not just dismissal but also reduction of pension and potentially unemployability within their profession. The least that can be expected of a law-based organisation is that has respect for its law - the EPC. If it doesn't..

  39. Under cover Union,
    You forget that BB has banned unions from holding any ballots. Industrial action can only be a strike and only after a ballot which he will organise (except when he refuses to do it). Anyone not following his rules is liable to face disciplinary proceedings for unauthorised (by him) absence. Your proposal would mean that he could fire anyone taking part.

  40. Cynic -

    Plenty of empathy - (the clue is in the word "concerned") - I just don't like seeing a good case spoilt by stupidly irrelevant references to co-operation funds and staffing of national offices. It only takes a small amount of shit to spoil the taste of a sandwich.

    Concerned Observer

  41. Among the investigated staff representatives, Elizabeth Hardon is so far the only one who has decided to make her case public. But, she might be only the tip of the iceberg. Others SUEPO executives will probably follow or are already accused.

    The Administrative Council asks Battistelli to recognise SUEPO and then Ms Bergot launches an investigation? Welcome to Absurdistan.

  42. Yor "real world" does not look very real to me, because, in the real world that is realy real neither judges nor heads of unions are fired all the time, as you alledge.


  43. @ outside observer (presumably aka "one of the President's men")

    There is a blatant omission from your statement about the real world: In the real world rhere is a rule of law backed by independent courts that can review , and if unjust, overturn decisions made by a psychopathic manager ...

  44. I would just add that the boy we speak about can simply not be fired by the president, nor the AC without the EBA so asking....and that the girl we speak about is simply a duly elected staff representative being harassed and not risking being fired just because she does not submit to him and rather dares defending staffs right.
    What if you would be fired not by your boss but by the boss of the next company, who by the way harasses his dissenting employees ....this happens everyday in any world, right?

    I know it is hard to see beyond money for many, but maybe just for a moment you could try it....it is a cliche, and that still you might not get it, but money is not everything you know....it really isn't.... And anyway I don't see anyone complaining here about lack of money, rather of lack of respect for their basic human right and these days lack of ability to properly service the public.....

  45. Dear Outside Observer:
    There are only two (2) real worlds where union leaders are demoted and fired, and judges thrown out and deprived of a substantial portion of their acquired pension rights by the executive: North Korea and the EPO.
    From North Korea you couldn't blog so you are in the EPO.
    And the choice of your pseudo as an "outside observer" to try to hide your actual position is so stupid that in the EPO you can only be a manager.

    Inside Observer

  46. I take it this is another party political broadcast on behalf of SEUPO that I shouldn't waste my time reading.

  47. Another point worth noting may be that in the "real world", CEOs who act like BB are likely to either end up in front of parliamentary committees (e.g. VW) to answer questions about alleged irregularities (the due process option) or else they risk ending up being attacked by angry staff (the Air France option - which will never happen at the EPO due to VP4 ensuring that demonstrating staff must remain outside EPO terrain).

    In the "real world", executives like Battistelli and his "dream team" cannot hide behind a protective shield of "immunity" (aided and abetted by their buddies in a cosy little "gentleman's club" which has so far evaded all external control - the much neglected Article 4a EPC anyone ?).

    To the best of my knowledge, the only thing in the "real world" which might be in any way comparable is a phenomenon called "Cosa Nostra" ... :-)

  48. I read today that in the Kingdom of Saud a court has decided to crucify and behead a student, simply because he participated in a demonstration against the government. I wonder if members of the EPO Presidential team monitor the morning papers and decide on that basis how to treat their employees. It's increasingly hard, these days, isn't it, to do what is right.

  49. Slightly ott MaxDrei, but i do wonder if the AC would vote against it...

  50. I agree that my posting was "slightly " ott but I was thinking about absolute monarchs, unconstrained by the Rule of Law, and the obsessive need they develop, to stamp out dissent. It was worth posting, just to enjoy your response, your expression of doubt whether the AC would ever bring itself to lift a finger against it, never mind respect or uphold the Rule of Law.

  51. Max,
    I was talking to the student only yesterday. Not looking forward to the beheading but he did express sympathy and allegiance to his SOUPO comrades in similar dire circumstances.

  52. It is funny to see someone who does not want to waste his/her time reading the article, but is happy to waste his/her time posting several comments.

  53. Now on topic: the president is clearly showing his autocratic way of doing things. Not only the staff and the supposedly independent Boards of Appeal are under attack, but also the EPC is being sidelined.
    I can understand that some readers have no interest whatsoever in the problems of the staff, but the attack on the independence of the "judiciary" and the blatant disrespect for the EPC should be seriously worrying anyone who cares about intellectual property.

  54. Latest:


  55. It is not funny, but actually quite sad, that individuals believe those who disagree with them are merely trolls and only one view is correct. I disagree with the views in here, but everyone has a right to them. My main criticism is the repetitive nature of the anti-EPO management articles, such that they are often un-supported rants and gossip.

    I therefore challenge such postings, and shall continue to do so, subject to the pro-EPO Kat censor.

  56. to (r)ATTRATR's

    Never called anyone troll, and I am happy to discuss issues with anyone who disagrees with me. But with arguments and not just sarcasm. The article has criticism for the management, and the reasons are explained. If you do not want to waste your time reading the article you do not need to post comments.

  57. * The Council observed that the Disciplinary Committee expressed the view that the relevant rules and general principles of law were correctly applied throughout the investigative and disciplinary procedure and assessed the facts brought forward during the investigation.*
    [they seem to have spied a computer in the semi-public area]

    * The Disciplinary Committee focussed on acts of unauthorised disclosure of non-public information and critical opinions relating to Board of Appeal activities outside the EPO, while using pseudonyms as well on activities of spreading accusations and attacks or threats against the EPO and its members... *
    [attacks or (?) threats are serious accusations, but critical opinions?]

    * As a consequence, the Council requested the Enlarged Board of Appeal to make a proposal for the removal from office of said staff member.*
    [I am curious to see what happens next]

    Thanks to slartibarfast for the link

  58. Mrs Elisabeth Hardon has just been fired.

    Of the other two suspended staff representatives, one (with 3 children, one still a baby) has been fired, the other severely downgraded.

  59. Hardon also loses 20% of her pension. Staff protesting at 1230 (and in The Hague too apparently). Sad day.


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