Tag archives: workplace

End of the lockdown in France: what are the precautions for employers operating in France?

On 7 May, the French Prime Minister announced the date chosen for the start of the “de-confinement” phase for France, namely 11 May 2020.

The lockdown, which started on 17 March, lasted almost 2 months during which some shops and businesses were closed, and the vast majority of companies operated on the basis of remote working. The lockdown weighed heavily on the national economy, with 12.2 million employees now covered by the short-time working scheme (i.e. six out of ten jobs in the private sector).

While public health has obviously been the government’s primary consideration in setting the plan to … Continue Reading

La France sort du confinement : Quelles précautions pour les employeurs ?

Le 7 mai dernier, le Premier Ministre a annoncé la date retenue pour le début de la phase de déconfinement des Français dans le cadre du plan de lutte contre le Covid-19, à savoir le 11 mai 2020.

Le confinement, qui a commencé  le 17 mars dernier, aura duré près de 2 mois durant lesquels certains commerces et entreprises ont été fermés, et la grande majorité des entreprises a fonctionné sur la base du télétravail. Le confinement aura lourdement pesé sur l’économie nationale, 12,2 millions de salariés étant aujourd’hui couverts par le dispositif du chômage partiel (soit six emplois sur … Continue Reading

France implements new social measures to face the pandemic

The first COVID-19 cases appeared in France a few weeks ago and French people have been in lockdown since March 17. The repercussions of this pandemic are significant, and the Government has been authorized, by Emergency Act No. 2020-290 of 23 March 2020, to take measures through ordinances (which means that no debate is required before Parliament, and the ordinances are voted directly by the Council of Ministers).

Several ordinances on employment-related matters were adopted by the Council of Ministers on 27 March 2020, and published. A decree was also issued to extend the rules of reduction in activity (short-time … Continue Reading

La France face à la pandémie : les mesures sociales s’organisent

Le COVID-19 a fait son apparition en France il y a quelques semaines déjà et les Français sont confinés depuis le 17 mars dernier. Les répercussions de cette pandémie sont importantes, et le Gouvernement a été autorisé, par la loi n° 2020-290 du 23 mars 2020 d’urgence pour faire face à l’épidémie de covid-19, à prendre des mesures par voie d’ordonnance.

Plusieurs ordonnances ont été adoptées en Conseil des ministres le 27 mars 2020, et publiées au Journal Officiel, en matière sociale. Un décret est venu élargir les règles de l’activité partielle. De nouvelles ordonnances sont par ailleurs venues compléter … Continue Reading

France combats the pandemic

Since January 2020, Coronavirus COVID-19 has spread rapidly around the world, causing massive disruption to business and everyday life as well as thousands of deaths.

The French Government has reacted in several stages. After issuing recommendations for barrier measures, it decided to close schools and more recently, it ordered the general confinement of French people and the closure of many establishments deemed non-essential in order to protect public health. The Government’s latest recommendations for employers can be found here (available in French only).

Consequently, for companies operating in France, three types of employees can be distinguished (excluding sick employees, who … 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

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

Alcohol at work: can the employer apply a zero tolerance policy?

A decision of the Supreme Administrative Court (“Conseil d’Etat”) of 8th July 2019 has overruled the decision of a work inspector (“inspecteur du travail”) who had rejected a zero tolerance policy regarding the consumption of alcohol during working hours for certain classes of employees in a company.

The case concerned a company specializing in the manufacture of automotive equipment which decided to revise its internal employee regulations to include a clause totally prohibiting the consumption of alcohol for certain categories of employee such as machine operators, lift platform users, electricians and mechanics.

By law the internal … Continue Reading

UK pensions: Does an employer have a duty to advise a dying employee on the implications of taking ill-health benefits early?

The smooth operation of a pension scheme depends on an efficient flow of information between the employer and the member. Frequently, the Pensions Ombudsman is asked to consider scheme trustees’ and employers’ duties on providing benefit information to members.

Where the law is silent, this can be a tricky area to navigate and considerable uncertainty may arise. What level of information should trustees and employers provide to a member given a diagnosis of terminal ill-health? When might this information stray into the territory of unauthorised financial advice?

Two illustrative cases

In February 2019 (Mrs T – PO-19080), the … Continue Reading

New York State and New York City employers face new compliance requirements

Recently, New York State and New York City have continued the trend of enacting employee-friendly legislation and issuing broad enforcement guidance under their respective employment laws and regulations.  New York State and New York City employers should be aware of the following recent developments from 2018 and early 2019, and should take action to review and update their practices and policies for compliance.

New York City lactation room and policy laws — new policy requirement

Federal and New York State laws already require employers to make reasonable efforts to provide a room other than a bathroom where a nursing employee … Continue Reading

Artificial intelligence and the workplace

These days especially in view of “Arbeiten 4.0”, the so called fourth industrial revolution in Germany, digitalization pervades the whole working world and is reflected in a vast number of different phenomena. As one of them artificial intelligence can complement – and in some cases even replace – manpower as we can see in the automotive industry. Yet the commitment is no longer limited to pure routine activities: Artificial intelligences can just as well assume employer’s responsibilities for example by giving automated instructions to employees. Therefore, digital changes also affect highly qualified positions, scientists and management – all of which … 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

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 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

Constitutional Court takes a vehement stance against racism in the workplace

This article was written by Erwyn Durman, a Candidate Attorney at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa

Employers now have the authority to sanction serious cases of racism with a dismissal. The Constitutional Court by overturning contrary judgments of the Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court: ruled categorically that a dismissal is an appropriate remedy for “the worst kind of contempt, racism and insubordination”.

In South African Revenue Service (the employer) and Commissioner for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and others [2016] ZACC 38 the Constitutional Court addressed racism as embodied by the word “kaffir”, which … Continue Reading

OSHA workplace injury and illness tracking will go forward

Last week, a Texas federal judge handed the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) a victory by refusing to grant an injunction that sought to delay the implementation of the Agency’s rule regarding workplace injuries and illnesses. The new rule, entitled “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illness,” requires most employers to submit workplace injury and illness information electronically.  This information will then be shared on a publically accessible website.  The rule also incorporates OSHA’s existing statutory prohibition of retaliation against an employee who reports workplace injuries and illnesses and requires employers to inform employees of their right … Continue Reading

What rights and protections are there for part-time workers?

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

Currently, about one quarter of all employment relationships in Germany are based on part-time models, the proportion of part-time to full-time employees having increased by about 12 per cent since 2001. Furthermore, as a result of the implementation of the EU Part-time Workers Directive 97/81/EC into German law in 2001, an enforceable right for current full-time employees to switch to part-time work exists in Germany. Besides this, employees with children (under the age of eight) may additionally claim the right to part-time parental leave.

Although employers … Continue Reading

Fair pay, safe workplaces, and federal contractors telling it like it is

On August 24, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Counsel issued a final rule to implement President Obama’s Executive Order 13673, entitled “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces,” first announced by the President over two years ago on July 31, 2014.

According to the Federal Acquisition Institute, the purpose of E.O. 13673 is “to help [federal] contractors come into compliance with labor laws – not to exclude contractors.” The final rule implementing the order requires both current and prospective federal contractors and subcontractors to disclose labor law violations and establishes how federal … Continue Reading

Post-Election 2016 Briefing: Likely Amendments to the Fair Work Act

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed victory in the federal election, as the Coalition achieved the slim majority in Australia’s federal parliament.

We briefly outline the likely key amendments to the Fair Work Act, as promised by the Coalition Government prior to the election, and other possible amendments to the workplace relations legislative framework.… Continue Reading

What are the latest developments on whistleblowing in the workplace?

French employment law does not yet provide for a comprehensive and consistent set of rules for the purpose of protecting whistleblowers. Instead, French employment law tackles issues arising out of whistleblowing situations through a relatively meager set of legislative provisions.

Current legislation

Under currently applicable legislation, no employee can be disciplined, dismissed or discriminated against for having reported, in good faith, various sets of facts such as moral and sexual harassment, discrimination, corruption, facts representing a serious risk to public health or environment, facts constituting a crime or an offence, etc.

Aside from such specific regulations, whistleblowers may also benefit … Continue Reading

What measures are in place (or being proposed) to address gender pay inequality in the workplace in France ?

Gender pay inequality remains a topical issue in France despite the introduction of numerous pieces of legislation intended to suppress the persistent pay gap in average remuneration between women and men. Although French employment law theoretically prohibits any discrimination based on gender and requires that employers ensure equal remuneration between women and men occupying a similar employment or an employment of similar value, there was still a global gap of approximately 19% in 2013 (10% when taking into account equivalent positions and conditions).

One of the main tools of gender pay equality policies in the workplace has been and remains … Continue Reading

What protection do employees have against racial discrimination in France?

The matter of racial discrimination is a regular source of concern in France, and the issue of protection against such discrimination is as important as ever.

In this respect, employee protection is principally ensured through the general principle of non-discrimination in the workplace, which prohibits any employer from treating an employee differently on the basis of certain illicit grounds, including employees’ origin, their actual or assumed membership of an ethnic group, a nation or a race and their name. Discrimination on the basis of an employee’s colour or nationality would clearly fall within such general prohibition. It would also be … Continue Reading

The results of an alcohol test do not justify a dismissal if based on unenforceable internal regulations

Under French employment law, the issue of alcohol consumption at the workplace is taken very seriously as it could entail significant risks, not only for the employee and his/her colleagues, but also for the company in general (loss of productivity, reputational risks, etc.). Moreover, the employer is bound by a duty of care towards its employees and is required by the French Labour code to prevent employees under the influence of alcohol from working on the company’s premises.

In this context, case law permits employers to have recourse to breathalyzer devices in orders to control the alcohol blood level of … Continue Reading

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