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In this short article you’ll find out that on overview, employment law in France is not considered to be at will, meaning as one chooses or pleases. That means being fired can only happen based on demonstrably and limited objective grounds. These reasons must be brought to the attention of the employee in writing.
Again, on overview, employment law in France insists that dismissals are subject to stringent, and often bureaucratic, procedural statutory constraints. Very formal, very proper and very convoluted.
Another area to take a look at to see what differences there are in French employment law compared to other countries would be lay-offs -a short overview. Employment law in France requires that lay-offs (also termed redundancies) for economic reasons must adhere to separate and complex procedural and substantive constraints. This would be more so in the case of mass layoffs.
One very interesting thing about French labor law is their movement towards a legal climate where the French entity -as opposed to the group to which it belongs -must be in really bad straights financially to justify laying off staff or making them redundant. Having said that, there are also several French State agencies that have a statutory right to be told (and even in some cases authorize) proposed layoffs by private sector employers.
This two-tiered system of firing people does have some safeguards attached to it -as in the company wanting to implement layoffs at least has to run it by another independent agency. While that may not ultimately stop the layoffs, it does give them a second chance.
In France it is also very easy and really inexpensive for an employee to start a lawsuit against his/her ex-employer. The courts they file suit in are usually comprised of lay judges elected from employer/employee organizations. These Labour Relations Courts are called Conseils de Prud’homme. Obviously there are great differences between this procedure and the one used in the US where it would cost an arm and a leg to even put a case together, never mind get it to trial.
In France it is also a rarity for claims to be dismissed without any award being made against the employer. And this is definitely not like law in the US. When awards are made under French law, they’re calculated with so many different variables, its almost done on a case-by-case basis.Overview Employment Law in France - Vive la Difference! by Harrison Barnes
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