The Court of Cassation, by order 11538 of 2 May 2019, stated that the employer may unilaterally revoke the vehicle assigned to the employee against payment, at any time, without notice and without the employee being entitled to any compensation or replacement compensation.

The facts

An employee asked the Labour Court Judge to order his employer to return his company car, assigned to him a few years earlier, assuming that the same had been granted “for mixed use”, as a fringe benefit of a retribution nature.

The applicant appealed the judgment of the Court of First Instance. The District Court, in confirming the first instance judgment, noted that in the present case the allocation of the car – according to what emerged from the relevant communication signed by the worker for acceptance – had taken place in accordance with the procedures laid down in the company regulations.

In this regard, the Court of Appeal pointed out that, pursuant to art. 1 of the aforementioned Regulation, the vehicle was to be considered in the exclusive interest of the company, so that it could be revoked (i) at any time and without notice, (ii) and the employee was not entitled to any indemnity or replacement compensation and (iii) the cost relating to the personal use of the car was to be charged to the payroll on 30 June and 31 December of each year.

Furthermore, the Court of Appeal observed that the use of the company vehicle in such a regulate manner, since it was in the interests of the employer and burdensome for the employee, was not such as to constitute remuneration in kind which could find its cause in the contractual synallagma; nor could it be held that the use had been granted without charge to the employee on the assumption that, since 2005, no deduction had been made in the pay slips relating to the use of the vehicle. In the opinion of the District Court, this alone was insufficient to demonstrate, in a clear and certain manner, the common will of the parties to change the enjoyment right as originally agreed in accordance with the Company Rules and Procedures.

The unsuccessful worker appealed the judgment of the Court of Appeal, opposing the employer by lodging a counter-appeal.

The decision of the Court of Cassation

The Court of Cassation, before which the case was brought, declared the appeal lodged by the employee to be inadmissible, thus confirming the decision of the presiding judges.

In particular, according to the Court of Cassation, from the factual assessment carried out during the trial phase (and not subject to specific censure) regarding the burden of use of the company vehicles, it follows that the granting of the same can be unilaterally revoked by the employer, without notice and without the employee’s right to any compensation.