In which court should a suit be brought against an employer?

Employees who want to bring an action against their employer should file a petition with the Labour Tribunal.

The Labour Tribunal is composed of a judge who sits as Court Magistrate and two persons sitting as non-presiding judges, one of whom is chosen from among the employers and the other from among the employees.

At each Magistrate Court, there is a Labour Tribunal which has jurisdiction over disputes relating to

  • to employment contracts;
  • apprenticeship contracts;
  • to supplementary pension schemes;
  • and insolvency insurance.

The competent Magistrate Court is determined according to an employee’s place of work.

Where the work place extends over the jurisdiction of several courts, the court of the principal place of work shall have jurisdiction.

Where the place of work extends over the entire territory of the Grand Duchy, the court sitting in Luxembourg shall have jurisdiction.

There are three Court Magistrates, one in Luxembourg, one in Esch-sur-Alzette and one in Diekirch.

The Court Magistrate for Luxembourg comprises the cantons of Luxembourg, Grevenmacher, Mersch, Remich and the communes of Garnich, “Habscht”, Kehlen, Koerich, Kopstal, Mamer and Steinfort, the Court Magistrate for Esch-sur-Alzette comprises the cantons of Esch-sur-Alzette and the communes of “Käerjeng” and Dippach, the Court Magistrate for Diekirch comprises the cantons of Diekirch, Clervaux, Echternach, Redange, Vianden and Wiltz.

To find out which court has jurisdiction, you can use the search tool available at under ” Directory of towns and cities “.

How to petition the Labour Tribunal?

The application, called a petition, may be prepared either by an employee himself or by the lawyer he has instructed to defend his interests.

In case an employee intends to sue his employer for wrongful dismissal, it is advisable to use the services of a lawyer because of the complexity of such a procedure.

Some people may be entitled to the payment of legal fees (trade union members; people entitled to legal aid).

On the other hand, when the sole purpose is to force a recalcitrant employer to pay the employee certain sums that are still owed to him, it is perfectly conceivable to launch a lawsuit without the intermediary of a lawyer.

The parties may be assisted or represented by:

  • a lawyer;
  • their spouse or partner within the meaning of the amended Law dated 9 July 2004 on the legal effects of certain partners;
  • their parents direct relatives;
  • their parents or relatives in the collateral line up to and including the third degree;
  • persons who are exclusively attached to their personal service or business.

A representative who is not a lawyer must have a special power of attorney.

A distinction is made between two types of petitions:

  • petition for urgent relief;

With the help of this type of petition, employees can quickly obtain a court decision ordering employers to pay amounts due. This type of procedure is only possible if the employee’s claims are established beyond any doubt, i.e. when they cannot be seriously contested by the employer.

In the case of sexual harassment, an employees who believe they are victims of such conduct may apply to the Chief Judge of the Labour Tribunal to order the employer to put an end to it.

  • petition on the merits.

This procedure, which is longer than the first one, should be used when there are possible challenges to a sanction pronounced by an employer.

It should be noted that prior to filing a motion with the court, the judges require that the employer be sent a formal notice and be given a final deadline to meet its obligations. This formal notice is sent by registered mail.

What form does the petition take?

The petition must be in the form of a written application.

The original with eight copies, 11 copies if the State intervenes in the case, must be filed at the registry of the competent Labour Tribunal (Luxembourg, Esch-sur-Alzette or Diekirch).

The clerk’s office shall notify the parties by mail and registered mail of the summonses (two copies per party, three copies for the judge and his assessors, one copy for the file).

What is included in the petition?

In order to be admissible, the petition must contain a certain number of items:

  • the surname, first name(s), occupation and domicile of the employee;
  • the capacity in which the employee is acting;
  • employer’s contact information;
  • the subject of the application;
  • a brief explanation of the background to the case;
  • a numerical indication of the amounts the employee is claiming from the employer;
  • the grounds for the application and their legal basis;
  • an inventory of all the documents that the employee invokes in support of his petition; the documents in question are to be attached in copy to the application.

The petition must be dated and signed by the employee or, if applicable, by that person’s lawyer.

How will the proceedings take place?

After the petition is filed, the next steps are as follows:

  • the court clerk shall summon the parties, indicating the day, time and place of the hearing;
  • on the day indicated, the parties must appear before the court, either personally or through a lawyer;
  • at this initial hearing, the case is in principle not heard, but is rescheduled to a later date;
  • pending the second hearing, each party must submit the documents it intends to bring before the court as arguments to the opposing party;
  • on the day set for the second hearing, the case shall either be heard or rescheduled to a later date.

If the case is heard, the court hears the explanations of each party, receives their documents and sets a date for the delivery of the judgment.

On the day of delivery, the Labour Tribunal issues a judgment.

The court clerk shall submit a copy of the judgment to the parties. The judgment may be appealed within 40 days of its notification to the Court of Appeal.

A lawyer is mandatory for representation in appeal.