Thursday, October 30, 2014

The right of women soldiers to care for minor children

The Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands, Spain, issued a judgment in favor of a female soldier who sought to be excused from various tasks such as manoeuvres, guard duty, etc. because she had two children under the age of 12.  The judgment was practically identical to one that the same court issued on March 10, 2014, which was the first in Spain to recognize the civil right of members of the military to the full conciliation of their family and work life when they have minors to care for.

This second judgment was notified on October 2, 2014.  The petitioner appealed the order of her Colonel, Chief of the Regiment of Light Infantry, "Tenerife 49," to which she is assigned, who had modified the conditions of her reduced work schedule so that she would have "a minimum operative preparation," or in other words, that she would be fit and ready.

The Colonel, issued his Order on August 1, 2012, for the male and female members of the military under his command, who had received a reduced work schedule, so that they would maintain "50 % of the guard duty and services, as well as a minimum of 10 days participation in SIC/SADAV exercises.

Nevertheless, in both the current and March 2014 judgments, against which there is no further recourse, and in which Judge Juan Ignacio Moreno Luque-Casariego presided, the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands is conclusive:  The Court finds that there is no reasonable and individualized justification to cover "the necessities of service," but rather that the Order is supported by "a mere invocation of a good state of preparation" of military members with a reduced work schedule and exoneration of services, guard duty, manoeuvres and the like.  The Superior Court of Justice considers that the resolution of the Colonel-Chief "incurs in an evident fraud of the law" in so far as it "cares about the minimum operative preparation of the female soldier" and that the Regiment of Light Infantry "does not lose its operative capacity," whereas it violates the 2007 Law for the Effective Equality of Women and Men as well as the 2011 Organic Law on the Rights and Duties of Members of the Armed Forces.

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