Is Turkish Labour Law applicable in a labour dispute involving foreign workers in Turkey?

UT Legal is a Turkish Law Firm with offices in the UK and Turkey. Our english-speaking lawyer can assist you for Turkish Labour Law matters.

What is the process?

In practise, the parties should state in the employment contact which Law should apply if there is a dispute. If the parties omit to do this, then the applicable law is the Turkish Law in all employment disputes where the working place is in Turkey.

Under Turkish Law, a foreign employee can in all cases file a case against a Turkish employer if there is an unfair dismissal, if compensation for unfair dismissal is claimed or for any other valid reason. However, with the recent changes in the Turkish Labour Law, the mediation process has become a compulsory precondition to filing a Labour Law case. Currently, whoever wants to file an employment case, needs first to apply for the mediation process and only then, if no suitable solution is found, can he proceed to file the case in the courts. If the employer or employee bypasses the mediation process and the case is filed directly, then the court is obliged to reject the case.

It should be clarified that it is mandatory to apply for a mediator, but the plaintiff is not obliged to compromise. Therefore, if no agreement is reached between the parties, there is no obstacle to a case being filed. However, if the parties do reach an agreement within the mediation negotiations, it is not possible for the parties to file a case afterwards for same cause.

Given that the workload of Turkish courts is heavy, and decisions are often delayed, we believe that this was a very significant and needed change in the Turkish labour dispute resolution system.

If you have an employment dispute in Turkey, we are here to help you in the mediation process and then, if required, through the litigation procedure.

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