Tag archives: workplace

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

Equality of treatment is not applicable within a group

Aside from the particular legislation prohibiting discrimination of employees on specific grounds such as age or gender, the French employment code does not provide for specific provisions concerning a more general principle which require the avoidance of inequality of treatment in the workplace. However, case law has progressively established this principle, particularly concerning remuneration, working conditions or employment benefits. As a result of such principle, differences of treatment between employees can only be validly enforced if it can be shown that such differences are justified by objective and relevant criteria, excluding any discriminatory intent. In principle, the scope of application … Continue Reading

Passive smoking: Employees can claim damages

Legal context

French employment law imposes a duty of care on the employer requiring it to ensure that the health and safety of its employees is not impacted as a result of their work. Such duty is interpreted very broadly by the courts, which only allow employers to escape liability in very limited circumstances such as force majeure.

In addition to this general duty, the legislation also obliges employers to enforce a smoking-free working environment as part of the public policy against smoking.

In this legal background, what happens when an employee claims damages as a result of his/her Continue Reading

What protection do employees have against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in France?

The matter of discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation is becoming more and more topical as the claims of the homosexual community give rise to a greater public awareness of the protection of each individual’s sexual orientation.

In this respect, employees’ protection against such type of discrimination 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 prohibited grounds such as the employee’s sexual orientation.

An employer which does not comply with this prohibition faces the same sanctions as those applicable to any … Continue Reading