Tag archives: termination

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

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

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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Termination and Flawed Performance Management Leads to Aggravated Damages Award

Performance management is always a challenge for employers.  Termination for cause on the basis of poor performance is trickier.  The recent decision of Cottrill v. Utopia Day Spas and Salons Ltd., 2017 BCSC 704 (“Cottrill”) is a good reminder of the importance of proactive and proper performance management, especially for underperforming employees.

Ms. Cottrill was a skincare therapist.  Throughout her employment, she attended regular goal setting meetings with her supervisor and was subject to performance reviews.  When her supervisor left the company in 2015, the President and CEO determined that she had regularly failed to meet her … Continue Reading

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

In business, the restructuring of a company (such as by the closure of an individual business unit or a necessary reduction in the number of staff) may result in an employee’s redundancy. However, dismissing an employee by reason of redundancy has strict prerequisites under German law.

The main requirements which must be observed under German law for a dismissal based on redundancy are as follows:

  • In business units with more than ten employees (more than five if hired before 31 December 2003), and if an employee has been at the company for more than six months, a specific justification for
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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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Mitigation Income and Wrongful Dismissal Damages – The Court of Appeal Muddies the Waters

The Wrongful Dismissal – What Happened?

Esther Brake worked for McDonald’s for over twenty-five years, first in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland, and then as a restaurant manager in Ottawa. She had received nothing but excellent reviews for years, but in 2011 she was suddenly told her performance was inadequate and that she had two options: accept a demotion or be fired. Ms. Brake refused the demotion and filed a successful action for wrongful dismissal.

The most interesting issue in this case was not the question of whether the dismissal was justified or not, but whether the trial judge erred by not subtracting … Continue Reading

A new criterion for unreasonableness: The obligation for adjudicators to demonstrate their consideration of progressive discipline

In a recent decision of the Federal Court of Canada, the Court had occasion to apply the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Wilson v Atomic Energy of Canada ltd (Wilson) for one of the first times. In his decision, Justice Diner found that it was unreasonable for an adjudicator not to consider both the proportionality of termination and the use of progressive discipline when determining whether the termination of an employee was unjust, within the meaning of subsection 240(1) of the Canada Labour Code.

Although it might seem obvious that proportionality and progressive discipline should be considered, … Continue Reading

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

This post was also contributed by Tony Rau, Trainee, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP (Munich).

German law provides for extensive protection of pregnant employees and employees on leave in connection with pregnancy. Regarding the latter, German law distinguishes between maternity leave (i.e. 6 weeks before until 8 weeks after childbirth – or 6 weeks before until 12 weeks after childbirth in certain cases) and parental leave (i.e. longer periods of leave granted after childbirth in order to care for newborns or children). The relevant rules are primarily aimed at protection against dismissal, but also protect against, for example, certain working conditions … Continue Reading

Unauthorized Access of Records – Nurse’s Job Saved by Late Apology

The BC Labour Relations Board recently upheld the reinstatement of a nurse who, on multiple occasions over an extended period, accessed private health authority records for personal reasons and without authority.  The Board upheld the arbitration award that ordered her reinstatement based in part on the nurse’s 11th hour apology.  The decision illustrates the challenge for employers in alleging just cause even with strong facts.

The nurse has been employed with the health authority in a small community for 8 years and had a discipline free record. When she was confronted about the unauthorized access, she acknowledged that she … 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

When breach of contract by an employer does not equal constructive dismissal

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently gave employees and employers a valuable reminder: a breach of an employment contract does not, in and of itself, constitute a constructive dismissal. Even if the breach translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars not being paid.

In Chapman v GPM Investment Management, the former CEO and president of GPM, a real estate management company, claimed he had been constructively dismissed by GPM after GPM failed to pay him his entire bonus.

The employment contract stated that the employee was to be paid a percentage of GPM’s pre-tax profit as a bonus. When … 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

Signed on the Dotted Line in Time? The Court of Appeal addresses the timing of an employee’s execution of her employment contract.

Employers have long been advised to ensure that a new employee agrees to and executes his or her written employment contract before starting work. Otherwise, there is a risk that the employment contract will be held to be unenforceable on the basis that there was no “consideration” provided to the employee in exchange for entering into it. Usually the “consideration” (meaning something of value exchanged between the parties) to the employee is the employment itself. Courts have held, however, if an employee is already employed, the continued employment itself will not be sufficient consideration. Something more must be provided.

The … 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

Employer’s egregious conduct in the course of a dismissal attracts both moral damages and human rights damages

The Court of Appeal for Ontario has recently issued a decision that should serve as a stark reminder to employers to treat employees respectfully and in good faith throughout the termination process. Where an employer’s behaviour dips below a threshold level of decency during the course of a termination, the employer may find itself exposed to “moral damages.” This was the case in Doyle v Zochem, in which the Court of Appeal for Ontario awarded $60,000 to a former employee for moral damages, in addition to wrongful dismissal damages, human rights damages, and legal costs.

According to the Supreme Continue Reading

Dishonesty in Hiring Process Constitutes Cause for Dismissal

A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has confirmed that, in certain scenarios, an employee’s dishonesty in the hiring process will constitute cause for dismissal.

The defendant employer, Canada’s leading nuclear energy agency, is required to comply with government rules respecting site access security clearance.  As such, candidates for employment are required to complete a security questionnaire, which requests, among other things, a complete employment history for the five years prior.  The plaintiff, in completing the questionnaire, omitted a short-term position which he had held for only a number of weeks.  When asked by the employer to … Continue Reading

Alberta employers kick-start 2017 with a big win in the Styles appeal

Following the SCC’s decision in Bhasin, there was uncertainty regarding the application of the common law duty to perform contractual obligations in good faith to the employment law context. The Court of Appeal of Alberta’s decision in Styles provides clarity on the application of Bhasin in the context of both termination and entitlement to bonuses in the employment law context.

The plaintiff employee was party to a written employment contract that provided for a base salary plus eligibility for a bonus after four years of employment, and only if the employee remained actively employed at the time of vesting. … Continue Reading

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