Tag archives: unfair dismissal

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

What is the real reason for dismissal?

The Supreme Court in the UK has held in the case of Royal Mail Group Ltd v Jhuti that, where the real reason for dismissal is a protected disclosure which has been hidden from the person determining the dismissal, by a person in a position of responsibility, the dismissal is automatically unfair, even where the decision maker relied upon the reason for the dismissal in good faith.

In this case the employee made a protected disclosure to her line manager. As a result she was put under pressure to withdraw her allegations by that line manager, which she duly did.  … 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

Religious practices and workplace incapacity

The Labour Appeal Court (LAC) has reaffirmed that employers must be tolerant of employee religious beliefs.

In TDF Network Africa (Pty) Ltd v Deidre Beverley Faris, it ruled that the employee was discriminated against and unfairly dismissed for practising her religion. Faris, a Seventh Day Adventist, refused to attend monthly Saturday stock takes as her religion prohibited working over the Sabbath. The employer dismissed her for ‘incapacity’.

Faris approached the Labour Court with an automatically unfair dismissal dispute owing to her religious beliefs. It found the dismissal automatically unfair because she was discriminated against for religious compliance.

Monthly … 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

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

No “fair go” makes dismissal for a valid reason unfair

The Fair Work Commission will inevitably find a dismissal to be ‘unfair’ if, despite having legitimate performance concerns, an employer does not give the employee a ‘fair go’ to both respond to those concerns and improve their performance.

In Cheek v ELB Pty Ltd,[1] the Commission took a close look at just what a ‘fair go’ means in finding the dismissal for a valid reason to be unfair.… 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

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

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

Enforcement of the right to paid holiday under the UK Working Time Regulations ruled incompatible with the EU Directive

The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) has ruled that the method of enforcement of the right to paid holiday in the UK Working Time Regulations (WTR) is incompatible with the EU Working Time Directive. This is because, if an employer refuses to pay a worker for a period of holiday, under the provisions of the WTR, the worker has to take the leave unpaid before he can bring a claim for payment. The ECJ considers that this denies workers an effective remedy for an employer’s failure to provide paid holiday. Furthermore where an employer refuses to pay … 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);
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
Continue Reading

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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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

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

The necessity of adopting a sensitive consultation process in the event of redundancy

This post was contributed by Jahan Meeran, Trainee Solicitor, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, London

A recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) illustrates the pitfalls of not adopting a sensitive consultation process in the event of redundancy..

In the case, the claimant had been employed by the property management division of his employer for over 40 years. Following a strategic review, the company decided to reduce the number of director roles. On 6 January 2014, the claimant was put on garden leave and placed into a redundancy pool comprising only himself. On 8 January a letter was sent to … Continue Reading

Genuine Redundancy and Redeployment – Job Swapping Reasonable in All the Circumstances?

In the recent case of Skinner et al v Asciano Services Pty Ltd T/A Pacific National Bulk [2017] FWCFB 574 the Full Bench found that an employer breached its obligation to explore redeployment options under s.389(2) of the Fair Work Act 2009 after making 7 of its employees redundant without properly considering job swaps and voluntary redundancies with other employees.  These 7 employees who had previously had their unfair dismissal applications dismissed, consequently had their applications remitted for re-hearing.… Continue Reading

Failure to Mitigate in Ontario

Aylsworth v Law Office of Harvey Storm, 2016 ONSC 3938 is an interesting case that further defines the boundaries of what type of job employees can reasonably reject without failing in their duty to mitigate their wrongful dismissal damages.

Lynne Aylsworth had worked at  the Law Office of Harvey Storm for 15 years as a legal assistant when  Storm merged with another real estate law practice (“REL”).   He gave Ayslworth approximately four months’ working notice of termination. Towards the end of the working notice period, REL offered Aylsworth employment as a clerk and receptionist. The terms of REL’s offer were … Continue Reading

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