THE RIGHT OF ACCESS TO THE COURT IN INDIVIDUAL LABOR DISPUTES
By analyzing and comparing the regulations, domestic jurisprudence and practice of the European Court of Human Rights this paper aims to identify the problems faced by employees when they seek the protection of their rights in labor disputes, and to propose possible solutions. In the Republic of Croatia, the Labor Act stipulates the obligation to strive to achieve a negotiated settlement before seeking protection of the court. The employee may, within a limited period of time, turn to the employer requesting protection. If the dispute is not resolved by agreement within the set deadline, the employee may, again, within the preclusive deadline, demand the protection of the violated right before the court. Therefore, apart from exceptional cases, the employee cannot claim protection of violated rights before the court until these procedural prerequisites are fulfilled. Because a satisfactory and rapid solution for both parties to the dispute is important for the economic development of the entire environment from which such a dispute arises, a settlement out of court is much preferable. The problem is that the process of pre-addressing an employer with the application for protection of the right in practice is often only a mere formality that needs to be fulfilled before submitting a lawsuit to the court, so it is often not very useful. In addition, it could be argued that this procedure limits the employee's right to access to a court and a fair trial because an employee, as a procedural party, is, in relation to an employer, in an unequal procedural position.
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