Tag archives: termination

Licenciements collectifs : considérations pratiques pour les employeurs québécois

Dernièrement, dans le contexte de la COVID-19, certaines entreprises se sont vues contraintes de cesser temporairement ou de réduire substantiellement leurs activités, entraînant ainsi nombre de mises à pied. Alors que des économistes prévoient un ralentissement économique important en raison de la pandémie, les employeurs québécois peuvent légitimement se demander s’ils seront en mesure de rappeler leurs salariés au travail une fois les mesures de confinement levées, voire même être confrontés à la difficile décision de procéder à des licenciements collectifs.

Qu’est-ce qu’un licenciement collectif?

Au Québec, le licenciement collectif est la terminaison d’emploi d’au moins dix (10) salariés d’un … Continue Reading

Comment faire face au Coronavirus en France?

Depuis le mois de janvier 2020, l’épidémie de Coronavirus COVID-19 s’est rapidement propagée à travers le monde, causant des milliers de décès.

Le Gouvernement français a réagi en plusieurs temps : après avoir émis des recommandations en matière de gestes barrière, il a ensuite pris la décision de fermer écoles et établissements accueillant des enfants, puis plus récemment a été ordonné le confinement généralisé de la population française et la fermeture de nombreux établissements jugés non indispensables, afin d’assurer la santé publique. Les dernières recommandations du Gouvernement pour les employeurs peuvent être consultées ici.

Dès lors, pour les entreprises ayant … Continue Reading

An employee’s higher pay during notice period won’t retroactively mitigate earlier damages

The Divisional Court recently released a decision that helps to clarify the law on mitigation of damages in wrongful dismissal cases.

The Court held that if a dismissed employee gets a new job during his or her notice period that pays more than the employee’s previous job, the employee’s surplus earnings can’t serve to reduce damages owed to the employee for the period he or she was unemployed.

The Court held that, in other words, a dismissed employee’s notice damages can’t be “back-filled” by higher earnings earned later.

An employee who is dismissed from his or her employment has the … Continue Reading

France: Le harcèlement sexuel susceptible d’être exclu en cas d’attitude ambigüe de la victime

Le harcèlement sexuel est défini, dans le Code du travail, par « des propos ou comportements à connotation sexuelle répétés qui soit portent atteinte à [la] dignité [du salarié] en raison de leur caractère dégradant ou humiliant, soit créent à son encontre une situation intimidante, hostile ou offensante ».

Le Code du travail prévoit également une assimilation aux faits constitutifs de harcèlement pour « toute forme de pression grave, même non répétée, exercée dans le but réel ou apparent d’obtenir un acte de nature sexuelle, que celui-ci soit recherché au profit de l’auteur des faits ou au profit d’un Continue Reading

France: Provocative acts do not necessarily fall within the scope of sexual harassment if the victim’s behaviour is ambiguous

The French employment Code defines sexual harassment as “repeated sexual comments or conduct that either violate the [employee’s] dignity because of their degrading or humiliating nature or create an intimidating, hostile or offensive situation against the employee“.

The French employment Code also assimilates to sexual harassment “any form of serious pressure, even non-repeated, exercised for the real or apparent purpose of obtaining an act of a sexual nature, whether it is sought for the benefit of the perpetrator or for the benefit of a third party“.

However, on 25 September 2019, the French Supreme Court (Cour … Continue Reading

Legal advice privilege in employment

A recent decision in the UK Court of Appeal has provided guidance in the area of privilege in employment claims.

In Curless v Shell International Ltd, the Court of Appeal had to consider whether legal advice privilege should be disapplied to an email on the basis that the advice fell within the “iniquity principle”.

Legal advice privilege applies to confidential communications between lawyers and their clients. However, legal advice privilege does not apply where the advice is iniquitous, i.e. where the communication or document came into being for the purpose of furthering a criminal or fraudulent design. In this case … Continue Reading

France: The complex consequences of the occurrence of gross misconduct during the notice period

The general rule under French law is that when employment contracts are terminated, employees are entitled to a prior notice period, the length of which depends on the status of the employee (executive or non-executive), their length of service, and in some cases their age.

The applicable rules are generally set by the sector-wide collective bargaining agreement (a large majority of employers in France are subject to such collective bargaining agreements).

Employees may either be asked to work during their notice period, or be released from working during it. In the latter case, they are entitled to receive their full … Continue Reading

Plafonnement des dommages intérêts en cas de licenciement injustifié : la rébellion se poursuit

La Cour de cassation vient de déclarer conforme aux engagements internationaux de la France, le « barème Macron » qui plafonne les indemnités attribuées par un juge en cas de licenciement sans cause réelle et sérieuse.

Avant l’entrée en vigueur du « barème Macron », en cas de licenciement sans cause réelle et sérieuse , il appartenait au juge de fixer l’indemnisation visant à réparer le préjudice du salarié. Or, si la loi prévoyait un minimum d’indemnisation de 6 mois de salaire lorsqu’un salarié avait au moins deux ans d’ancienneté et travaillait dans une entreprise d’au moins 11 salariés, … Continue Reading

The beginning of a revolution (by the French lower courts) ?

French President Emmanuel Macron implemented a significant reform of the French employment code in late 2017, with the intention of providing employers greater flexibility and predictability in managing labour relations.

One of the most controversial measures was the creation of a grid applicable to the amount of indemnities due to employees for unfair dismissal, setting minima and maxima as a function of the length of service of the employee and the headcount of the employing entity.

Prior to the adoption of the grid, courts were free to determine the amount of damages payable to unfairly dismissed employees based on the … Continue Reading

Singapore: “Watershed” Amendments to Employment Legislation

Singapore’s employment laws are set to undergo watershed changes come April 2019. In summary, a greater number of employees – in particular, professionals, managers and executives (“PMEs”) – will soon be able to avail themselves of the statutory protections contained in Singapore’s Employment Act, the key employment legislation in Singapore.

The single most significant legislative change is the removal of the monthly salary cap of SGD 4,500 in respect of PMEs. Presently, only PMEs below this salary cap have the benefit of the provisions in the Employment Act relating to minimum periods of notice, paid public holiday and … Continue Reading

Do managers typically think of personal liability when making decisions to dismiss? They perhaps should

Directors and senior managers and their employers should consider the recent Court of Appeal decision in the Osipov whistleblowing case very carefully. Briefly, by way of scene-setting, Osipov had made a series of protected disclosures and he was ultimately dismissed as CEO of the employer company pursuant to a decision of two non-executive directors (NEDS) of the company. He brought a  whistleblowing claim (for approx. £1.7m) against the company.  He also added the two NEDS as respondents on the basis that they had subjected him to a detriment for (amongst other allegations) their part in the decision to dismiss him.… Continue Reading

Italian Constitutional Court partially repeals Jobs Act rules – What’s next?

The Italian Constitutional Court (the “Court”) has partially repealed the “Jobs Act” reform of 2015 that introduced, among other things, a predictable calculation criteria for the monetary compensation to be paid in case of unlawful dismissal (2 months’ salary for each year of service, with a minimum threshold and a maximum cap).

The full decision of the Court has not yet been issued, but based on the text of a press release relating to the matter, the position of the Court is clear: indemnity for unlawful dismissal based exclusively on length of service goes against the constitutional principles of reasonability, … Continue Reading

Dismissal for misconduct cannot be based (solely) on anonymous reports

Anonymous reports have been mistrusted for a number of years in France, for historical reasons. While anonymity enables individuals to raise their voice more openly, without being the targets of retaliation measures, it can also drift into slander.

This explains a specificity of French law under which whistleblowers using ethicals lines are strongly encouraged to disclose their identity since generally speaking, , anonymous reports are not acceptable (although a limited number of exceptions are available).

It is only very recently that the French Supreme Court had to resolve a case involving an employee dismissed on the basis of anonymous reports.… Continue Reading

Can a dismissal letter be signed by an individual belonging to a holding entity?

Dismissal procedures are highly regulated in France including with respect to the identity of the individual who is entitled to conduct the procedure and sign the dismissal letter; such person must -by definition- be the “employer” .  However, some flexibility has been introduced over the years by French case law, and a recent decision of 13 June 2018 of the French Supreme Court is an illustration of such flexibility.

In this decision, the French Supreme Court held that a dismissal letter could be validly signed by the general manager of the holding entity, which is not the employing entity.

As … Continue Reading

Tort liability: other grounds for bringing actions against a parent company in French employment litigation

It is a fact of life in French employer-employee relations that employees have no hesitation in bringing actions against their employer, in particular following termination of an employment, and that litigation is therefore not just a virtual weapon. Not only do employees sue their employer but, where the employer is a part of a group of companies, they have sought to impose liability on the group parent company in such employment litigation where they consider that the parent company was too involved in the management and decisions of its French subsidiary and that such involvement had proven detrimental to the … Continue Reading

Employees’ freedom of speech on the Internet is not without boundaries

Books, hotels, restaurants, products: you can find reviews and rating websites for just about everything on the internet – even employers. However, employees posting internet reviews of their employer should be careful and measured in what they say, or risk being subjected to disciplinary measures  – or even dismissal – if they abuse their freedom of speech.

A recent decision of the French Supreme Court provides an illustration justifying such a warning.

A communication agency was warned by one of its clients that a very negative review had been posted (anonymously) on a website specializing  in publishing  reviews and rating … Continue Reading

Lack of probity may provide grounds for dismissal for serious misconduct

French employment courts generally subject alleged reasons for employee dismissal to close scrutiny, particularly where dismissals are based on a breach of the duty of loyalty or of probity. Such breaches only constitute valid grounds for dismissal if they are genuine and rely on objective facts and behaviour which are attributable to the employee concerned.

From time to time, the French Supreme Court renders decisions recalling this principle. And here is a perfect example.

In the case in question, a bank client relationship manager was dismissed under the following circumstances:

The bank in which he was employed organized a client … Continue Reading

Changes to taxation of termination payments – April 2018

Changes to taxation of termination payments came into force in the United Kingdom on 6 April 2018. The new rules will mean that income tax and national insurance contributions (NICs) will be payable on all payments which relate to an employee’s notice period.

The position prior to 6 April was that a “termination payment” (being any payment that is not already chargeable to income tax) could be paid tax free up to £30,000. However, any payments made pursuant to the contract of employment including a contractual payment in lieu of notice (PILON) would be subject to tax in the usual … Continue Reading

The fairness of a misconduct dismissal

A recent case has considered whether a school was entitled to summarily dismiss a head teacher for her failure to disclose a personal relationship with a convicted sex offender.

In the case of Reilly v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council Mrs Reilly was dismissed after she failed to disclose her friendship with a convicted sex offender, to the governing body of the school at which she was headmistress (the School). Mrs Reilly brought a claim for unfair dismissal to the Employment Tribunal which she lost, and her subsequent appeals at the Employment Appeals Tribunal, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme … Continue Reading

Information collected via Facebook cannot – always – be used as evidence against an employee

Technology is ever-changing, and while in the past evidence of an employee’s misconduct was based mainly on “physical” witnesses and observations, employers might now be tempted to use data obtained through social media as evidence against their employees.

At the present time the French Supreme Court has not had many occasions to clarify the manner in which evidence obtained by French employers through the Facebook website (and more particularly on the “wall” of an individual) should be treated by the courts.… Continue Reading

The never-ending search for fairness in a termination clause

Over the course of this past year there have been several important decisions dealing with the enforceability of termination clauses in employment agreements, and how a court is to interpret a clause to determine the employer’s obligations to a departing employee.  The importance of these decisions can be seen by contrasting the financial consequences that follow when an employer makes the decision to terminate an individual’s employment.

For instance, where a termination clause is enforceable and successfully limits an employee’s entitlements upon termination to the statutory minimums prescribed by the applicable employment standards legislation, an employer’s financial obligations associated with … Continue Reading

Un salarié protégé peut-il contester la rupture conventionnelle homologuée dont il a fait l’objet devant le juge judiciaire ?

Les salariés protégés (représentants du personnel, délégués ou représentants syndicaux, salariés mandatés, etc.) bénéficient d’un statut particulier, eu égard à leur rôle dans l’entreprise. A ce titre, toute modification, et a fortiori, rupture de leur contrat de travail doit être autorisée par l’inspection du travail.

La conclusion d’une rupture conventionnelle homologuée, quand bien même il s’agit d’un mode de rupture qui suppose l’accord du salarié, ne déroge pas à cette règle. Afin que la rupture conventionnelle soit valablement conclue, l’employeur doit par conséquent solliciter et obtenir l’autorisation de l’inspection du travail.

Cette procédure a une incidence directe sur le contentieux … Continue Reading

Recent developments in French employment law regarding financial institutions: How the French Government wants to enhance Paris’ attractiveness as a global financial place

Apart from certain provisions which may be tailored to the relevant situations negotiated by companies or sectors of business through collective agreements (subject to compliance with a number of basic rules and principles), French employment law does not include any specificities in relation to certain sectors of business.

In particular, financial institutions are subject to the same set of rules as any other French company.

However, this may change in the next few weeks or months.

As part of the process of ratification of President Macron’s ordinances reforming the French labour code,  the French National Assembly adopted on 23 November … Continue Reading

La présomption d’innocence peut-elle s’opposer au licenciement d’un salarié fondé sur des faits visés par une procédure pénale ?

La Cour de cassation a été saisie d’un dossier concernant un salarié de la société Euro Disney, qui avait été licencié à la suite de la découverte, par son employeur, et dans le cadre d’une enquête pénale, du fait que celui-ci avait acheté à l’un de ses collègues des stupéfiants.

En effet, au printemps 2012, une procédure d’instruction avait été ouverte pour rechercher des faits d’infraction à la législation sur les stupéfiants au sein du parc d’attraction. Plusieurs salariés avaient alors été mis en cause. Dans le cadre de cette procédure pénale, la société Euro Disney s’était constituée partie civile, … Continue Reading

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