Topic: France

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What rights does an employer have to suspend an employee in France?

Under French labour law, there are limited circumstances under which employers may suspend employees.

One of the main obligations imposed on employers is to provide employees with work to be performed  (and obviously to pay them in consideration for their work). Breach of this requirement may be considered as a ground for breach of contract, and the relevant employee can claim the equivalent of constructive dismissal which  in practice has the same consequences as an unfair dismissal).

In practice, there are two types of suspensions provided by the French labour code:

1. Disciplinary suspension (“mise à pied disciplinaire”)

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French employment code reform: Focus on economic dismissals

French President Emmanuel Macron has signed five ordinances making important changes to several aspects of the French employment code. The ordinances, which were immediately published in the French Official Journal on September 23rd, 2017, are aimed in particular at providing employers more flexibility and predictability in labour-management relations.

Several provisions of this ambitious reform (the “Reform”) – numbering 159 pages and providing for 36 measures – are already in force.

Due to the significant amount of amendments to French employment regulation provided by the Reform, we have chosen to focus in our third article on the amendments relating to economic … Continue Reading

French employment code reform: Focus on dismissal procedure and indemnity

French President Emmanuel Macron has signed five ordinances making important changes to several aspects of the French employment code. The ordinances, which were published in the French Official Journal on September 23rd, 2017, are aimed in particular at providing employers more flexibility and predictability in managing labour relations.

Several provisions of this ambitious reform (the “Reform”) – numbering 159 pages and providing for 36 measures – are already in force.

Due to the significant amount of amendments to French employment regulations provided by the Reform, we have chosen to focus in our second article on the new regulations regarding changes … Continue Reading

French employment code reform: Focus on homeworking

French President Emmanuel Macron has signed five ordinances making important changes to several aspects of the French employment code. The ordinances, which were immediately published in the French Official Journal on September 23rd, 2017, are aimed in particular at providing employers more flexibility and predictability in labour-management relations.

Several provisions of this ambitious reform (the “Reform”) – numbering 159 pages and providing for 36 measures – are already in force.

Due to the significant amount of amendments to French employment regulation provided by the Reform, we have chosen to focus in our first article on the new regulations regarding homeworking. … Continue Reading

Use of social media in France: Employee’s rights and obligations

The impact of the use of social media in the workplace has regularly given rise to controversies and debates as how this subject is to be handled by a company’s management. The current state of employment law is still not entirely settled in this respect. It is however possible to provide some guidance on the most common issues arising from such use with regard to employment law (data protection regulations will not be considered in this article).

Access and control of social media in the workplace

As a general rule, employees are allowed to access the internet for non-professional purposes … Continue Reading

Significant changes to French employment code to enter into force no later than January 1st, 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron has signed five ordinances making important changes to several aspects of the French employment code. The ordinances, which were immediately published in the French Official Journal on September 23rd, 2017, are aimed in particular at providing employers more flexibility and predictability in labour-management relations.

Several provisions of this ambitious reform – numbering 159 pages and providing for 36 measures – are already in force.

The amendments to existing legislation effected by the Ordinances are built around the following principles defined by the French Government:

  • giving precedence to micro-businesses (TPE) and to small and medium-sized companies (PME);
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Record number of mutual termination agreements signed in France

According to the data published by the French labour administration, mutual termination agreements (ruptures conventionnelles) have never been so popular. Indeed, in June 2017, more than 35,700 mutual terminations agreements have been validated by the French labour Administration.

But why are mutual termination agreements so popular?

First, mutual termination agreements represent – for the employer and the employee – a quick and easy way to terminate an incompatible working relationship.

The procedure for entering into a mutual termination can be summarized as follows:

  1. Invitation to a negotiation meeting
  2. Agreement between employee and employer on the principle of a
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The (latest) reform of the French employment code is ongoing

As part of candidate Emmanuel Macron’s program during the Presidential elections campaign, a substantial reform of the French employment Code was promised. After his election as President, French commentators anticipated new changes would be implemented quickly, given Emmanuel Macron’s indications that he wished to go ahead as soon as possible, without too much debate before the French Parliament.

This reform is now on track, and will be implemented through a specific procedure:

  • an “enabling” law (loi d’habilitation) shall be voted by Parliament to set a specific framework for the reform;
  • ordinances (ordonnances) will be published after
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What French employers must do in case of heatwave?

Summer is coming and temperatures are rising and may become unbearable, especially for these employees working outdoors / performing manual labour.

Too much warmth can affect employees and can cause exhaustion, headache, fainting, or dehydration. Therefore the impact on employees’ health can be significant.

From a French employment law perspective, employers have a very general and broad obligation to take any measures necessary to ensure their employees’ health and safety at work, at any time. They are also required to adapt these measures to take into account any major circumstance, particularly heatwaves.

Anticipate heatwaves

Employers must first take prevention measures, … Continue Reading

Do employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave enjoy any special protection in the event of redundancy in France?

As is the case in many other countries (particularly countries in the European Union, which are covered by EU Directive 92/85/CEE dated 19 October 1992), France has implemented a full set of rules with the goal of protecting pregnant employees or employees on maternity leave against illegitimate termination of their employment contract. These protections also apply in the context of redundancies.

The rules run to the benefit of all female employees, whether employed on a full time or part time basis, including both those on an indefinite term and fixed term employment contracts. However, application of the protective provisions to … Continue Reading

Dismissals for established poor performance may – still – be unfair

Just for once, we will talk about French lawyers. We say “for once”, because only a minority of lawyers in France are employees (a very large majority of us are self-employed).

From a French employment law point of view, although the employee in the particular case we will discuss here was a lawyer, that is actually completely irrelevant to the principle at stake, as the decision rendered by the French Supreme Court can be extended to any employee, regardless of their role.

Generally speaking, an employee’s poor performance may result in dismissal, and poor performance is widely used in France … Continue Reading

Human resources managers can be indirectly liable for harassment

Health and safety of employees is highly protected in France. Employers are  responsible for the prevention of any damage to their employees’ health and safety resulting from their work. Amongst other things, French law requires employers to ensure that their employees are protected from any harassment at work.

But another provision of the French Employment Code, which is far less known outside of France, states that employees are also liable to take care, not only of their own health and safety, but also of that of other employees in the company who could be affected by their behaviour or negligence.… Continue Reading

Le devoir de vigilance : une obligation renforcée

L’obligation de vigilance est une obligation faite aux entreprises de prévenir les risques sociaux, environnementaux et de gouvernance lié à leurs activités. La loi du 27 mars 2017 relative au devoir de vigilance des sociétés mères et des entreprises donneuses d’ordre, publiée le 28 mars 2017 au Journal Officiel, renforce l’obligation de vigilance.

Le devoir de vigilance s’applique aux entreprises françaises employant, à la clôture de deux exercices consécutifs, au moins 5 000 salariés en France ou 10 000 salariés dans le monde (filiales comprises).

Ces sociétés doivent établir et publier un plan de vigilance afin d’identifier et de … Continue Reading

A new duty of care for the most significant companies in France

The duty of care is an obligation for companies to prevent social, environmental and governance risks related to their activities. A very recent law published on 28th March 2017 has reinforced such duty of care.

The duty of care concerns French companies employing, at the end of 2 consecutive fiscal years, at least 5,000 employees in France or at least 10,000 employees in the entire world (the headcount should be assessed including the employees of their subsidiaries).

These companies must establish and publish a “duty of care plan” to identify and prevent environmental, human rights, health and safety and corruption … Continue Reading

What is the latest on employees’ rights in the event of redundancy in France?

Dismissing an employee due to economic difficulties is extremely delicate in France. A law dated 8th August 2016 has specified the definition of the economic grounds for dismissals, providing that economic difficulties are, in particular, characterized by a significant evolution of an indicator such as a significant drop of turnover, a significant drop in purchase orders, operating losses, worsening of cash flow or gross operating profit or any other elements which can evidence such economic difficulties.

Case law imposes a very strong obligation on employers before envisaging any redundancy and the main applicable principles regarding employees’ individual rights have not … Continue Reading

When an employer hides another employer

Dual employment is a sensitive subject in French employment law as it enables employees to raise claims against a different employer from that with which the employment contract was signed.

The matrix-type organisation of groups of companies, which has become the rule, can have adverse consequences if employees have the feeling that they are employed by the group as a whole and not by the company to which they are bound under their employment contract).

As long as the economic situation of the employer is flourishing, the risks are remote. However, issues generally arise when the French member company of … Continue Reading

Update regarding protection against religion-based discrimination in France

In France, the issue of religious behavior in the workplace is extremely sensitive.

The principle under French employment law is that while public sector employers are required to enforce a policy of strict neutrality, in private sector companies, a balance must be maintained between the principle of secularism and the prohibition of discrimination based on religious beliefs.

On this basis, French employers can limit certain religious’ behavior in the workplace if :

  • the prohibition is justified by the nature of the tasks to be performed by the employees,
  • the prohibition responds to a determining and essential professional requirement, and
  • the
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New protection of French whistleblowers under the Sapin II Law

Much attention was focused recently on President Obama’s decision, in the final days of his presidency, on commuting the sentence of Chelsea Manning, who provided certain classified information to WikiLeaks. In France, new legislation has recently been passed and implemented harmonizing the protection of whistleblowing employees (https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do;jsessionid=4BBFD240827AF0FD9A6340FF254E6F1B.tpdila21v_3?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000033558528&categorieLien=id).

Who is concerned?

Under the new regulation, whistleblowers are defined as “any individual who reveals or reports, acting selflessly and in good faith, a crime or an offence, a serious and clear violation of an international commitment which has been ratified or approved by France or of an unilateral act of … Continue Reading

Key French employment law developments in 2017

As 2017 is a Presidential election year in France, we do not expect major changes in employment legislation to occur in France in the near future.  However, this does not mean that French employment lawyers will be unoccupied.

First and foremost, the El Khomri law (dated 8 August 2016), which significantly modified the employment law landscape in France, is progressively coming into effect: a number provisions only entered into force on 1st January 2017, and implementing decrees are still awaited in a number of areas.

The main measures which have come into force on 1st January 2017 are:

  • New
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Class action against workplace discrimination

In France, employees who suffer from workplace discrimination are entitled to bring claims against their employer. Workplace discrimination is strictly prohibited and is characterized when a person is treated less favorably than another because of his or her origin, sex, marital status, pregnancy, physical appearance, health, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political opinions, trade union activities, his/her belonging to an ethnic group, or his/her alleged race or religion.

Employees or future employees who have been subjected to discrimination can either take legal action directly or authorize a union to act on their behalf. However, even if a union takes … Continue Reading

The new French “right to disconnect”

French law has recently implemented the “right to disconnect” from digital tools, requiring employers to limit employees’ use of digital tools outside of office hours.

The purpose of the new legislation is to protect the employees’ work-life balance and their right to rest periods.

New article L 2242-8 of the French Labour Code provides that the conditions relating to the right to disconnect must be discussed on an annual basis, as from 1st January 2017, in the course of the mandatory negotiations on equality between men and women and quality of working life. Such negotiations will take place … Continue Reading

What rights do workers have to rest breaks in France?

French regulations strictly supervise employees’ working time, which may not exceed a certain limit and must include break time and minimum rest periods. Not only must the employer comply with these obligations, but in the event of litigation, the employer must be in a position to produce evidence that it has done so.

Each employee is entitled to a minimum daily rest period of 20 minutes if they work 6 hours in a row. This break time is a period during which an employee can freely deal with his personal occupations without having to comply with directives of his employer.… Continue Reading

An employee alleging harassment at work cannot be the object of a claim for defamation by the employer

In France, employees alleging harassment enjoy legal protection against any retaliation by their employer. The employee cannot be made subject to sanctions as a consequence of such allegations, whether by outright dismissal or some lesser sanction. Obviously, there are some caveats around this, including the requirement that the employee have made such allegation of harassment in good faith. Bad faith is defined as the employee knowing that the facts alleged were false at the time he reported them, but not simply that the facts in question are ultimately not considered to constitute harassment.

The French Supreme Court recently had occasion … Continue Reading

What protections and rights exist for part-time employees?

Under French employment law, part-time employees enjoy rights identical to those granted to full-time employees by law, collective bargaining agreements and company agreements employees.

Consequently, there exists a principle of equality between part-time and full-time employees, such that part-time employees enjoy either the same or proportional rights as those so full-time employees.

Part-time employees enjoy legal protection and right applicable to their status.

  • Protections for part-time employees

First of all, unlike the full-time indefinite term contract, the part-time employment contract must be in writing and must contain certain mandatory provisions the aim of which is to ensure the protection of … Continue Reading

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