Littler Global Guide - France - Q4 2019

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

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Reporting Harassment to Third Parties Constitutes Slander

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Guillaume Desmoulin, Partner - Littler France

When reporting facts that can form the basis for a complaint of harassment (moral or sexual), the employee is protected from discipline: no sanction can be enforced against said employee; otherwise, it would be presumed void. Except that this protection is cancelled out if the employee acted in bad faith. In addition, the employee is protected from slander suits. Invalidating such protection, on November 26, 2019, the criminal chamber of the French Supreme Court ruled that if the employee reports the facts outside of the company's inner circle, the protection against slander is no longer valid. In that case, the employee reported the facts of a harassment complaint when she emailed, from her professional inbox, not only the alleged offender, but also his son, another employee, an executive, the labor inspectorate and her spouse.

Damages for Failure to Investigate or Act to Address a Complaint of Harassment

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Guillaume Desmoulin, Partner - Littler France

Under the French Labor Code, an employer must undertake any action necessary to prevent any conduct that constitutes harassment. On November 27, 2019, the French Supreme Court ruled that when informed of a harassment situation involving an employee, employers must initiate an internal investigation and, if necessary, act. An employer who fails to act is noncompliant with its general obligation to prevent professional risks and may be liable for damages even if the harassment allegations ultimately are proved false.

New Framework for Executive Compensation

New Regulation or Official Guidance

Author: Guillaume Desmoulin, Partner - Littler France

New Decree No. 2019-1234 published on November 27, 2019, and pursuant to the Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation law creates a binding new framework for executive compensations regarding some limited companies and limited stock partnerships. The new framework requires two votes of the general meeting of shareholders and creates a system of sanctions. Every year, a first ex ante vote will be held on the compensation policy of every managing executive. This policy must comply with the company's interest, contribute to its sustainability and be a full part of the company’s business strategy. Its content and terms are outlined in Decree No. 2019-1235, also dated November 27, 2019. A second ex ante vote will be held on the details of the executive's compensation during the previous financial year, with an eye to equal distribution, allowing a comparison between the executive's compensation and the average employee salaries.

Corporate Social Responsibility for Collaborative Platforms

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Author: Guillaume Desmoulin, Partner - Littler France

The French professional mobility bill (Loi d'Orientation des Mobilités) strengthens guarantees for workers who, through collaborative platforms, carry out “an activity of driving a chauffeured passenger car or of delivering merchandise using a two-wheel or three-wheel vehicle.” The bill details the information given, by the platforms, regarding the offered services and forbids penalties related to an eventual worker's refusal. Workers are free to choose their schedule and disconnect during the scheduled hours. The bill also provides the possibility of a corporate social responsibility charter, defining both rights and obligations as well the charter’s specific content. If approved, the establishment and respect of the charter will not create a subordination relationship between the platform and the worker.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.