Dmytro Kolomiets, the coordinator of Hola Prystan Community Law Center
Last year, the teachers of all schools in Hola Prystan, Kherson region, were not paid travel allowance for advanced training in Kherson academy of continuous education. Teachers have put up with this situation for a long time as they were afraid of long litigation process. Besides, their direction promised to compensate the business trips as soon as the fund will be available.
Vasyl Petrovych Markovych*, who has been a teacher of technical work, art and culture in one of the villages of Hola Prystan region for more than 20 years, did not put up with the situation. In spring 2012, he was sent to the advanced training courses in Kherson academy of continuous education. He was not financed for the business trip. Vasyl Petrovych had to use his own money for the trip to Kherson and for daily needs, Before the business trip, the education department has promised that money will be compensated to him and his colleagues.
Vasyl Petrovych studied hard and received the advanced training certificate. After he returned home, he provided accounting documents to get travel allowance. Time passed, but compensation was not refunded. 800 UAH is a lot for the village teacher.
After consultations with relatives, Vasyl Petrovych decided that he should act. He turned for help to the Community Law Center founded by Hola Prystan regional public organization “Hola Prystan region development foundation”. The lawyers of the Center consulted Vasyl Petrovych and recommended to go to the court. After his approval, specialists collected all the necessary documents, helped to make a claim and supported Vasyl Petrovych’s case in court.
According to the legislation (article 122 in Code of law on labor) the State guarantees workplace and compensation for the person who was sent away to the advanced training courses. Vasyl Petrovych was officially sent to courses, studied hard and provided all the necessary documents to the accounting department. Thus, Hola Prystan education department was obliged to compensate teacher’s spending.
Taking into account all the legal requirements and the circumstances of the case, Hola Prystan regional court of Kharkov oblast concluded that the actions of the education department are illegal. The court made a decision to require the defendant to pay the damages to the village teacher.
However, that was not the end of the case. As it has not been a single case in the region, Dmytro Kolomiets, regional council’s deputy and coordinator of Community Law Center, started solving problem systematically. He organized a meeting with deputies and explained that not paying the travel allowance to the teachers is illegal, and that dozens of teachers who are now planning to go to the court with lawyers of Community Law Center, have become the victims. That is the reason why he proposed to allocate funds in the regional budget to pay compensations connected to training courses. Deputies agreed, and approved the necessary changes. Thus, concern and civil position of one person, professionalism of Community Law Center’s lawyers helped all teachers of Hola Prystan.
*Name is changed due to the ethical concerns