In a case handled by KG Law Firm on behalf of the employer, a leading company in the beverages sector, the Athens First Instance Multi Member Court issued a landmark decision prohibiting boycott acts conducted by former and current employees and their unions against the company and its products.
The employer, in its claim against the boycotters, invoked that said boycotts damage irreparably its trustworthiness and credibility, resulting thus in its defamation and that the behavior of the boycotters was tortuous and exercised in bad faith. The company sought, through its civil claim, to obtain an order for the prohibition of all such activities against its interests. The Court, in principle, considered that the acts of boycott are a form of action justified only if taken within the framework of a legitimate strike. However, upon examining the particular case and based solely on its merits, the Court ruled that the boycott in question was illegal due to the fact that the relevant strikes of the boycotters had been previously found, by the competent Courts, illegal and abusive. In addition the boycotters were spreading, amongst others, false rumors about the company and its products in their effort to persuade consumers to abstain from buying their employer’s products. The Court reached its decision by weighing the conflicting rights involved (i.e. the right to freedom of expression, in the context of the right to freely exercise one’s trade union rights -vs- the company’s right to freely exercise its business, fame and reputation). In its decision, the Court applied the principle of proportionality and ruled in favor of the employer.