Par frederic.chhum le 24/10/11

Depuis le 16 octobre, 2011, Le Dee Jay est rebaptisé "platiniste" par l'Administration française (JO 16 octobre 2011, p.17524).

En effet, la Commission générale de terminologie et de néologie, a francisé 30 nouveaux mots utilisés dans la Communication, la Publicité et l'Audiovisuel (Le Monde 20 octobre 2011 : Ne dites pas à David Guetta qu'il est devenu platiniste).

La publication des nouveaux termes au Journal Officiel, rend "leur emploi obligatoire, à la place des équivalents étrangers, pour les services de l'Etat et les établissements publics".

Il n'en demeure pas moins que le platinistse à l'instar est présumé, salarié artiste du spectacle.

A cet égard, dans un arrêt du 14 octobre 2009 (n°08-42908), la Chambre Sociale de la Cour de cassation a considéré qu'un disc jockey (DJ) était un artiste du spectacle, soumis à une présomption de salariat, en vertu de l'article L.7121-3 du Code du travail.

1) Les faits

En l'espèce, Monsieur X... effectuait des prestations en qualité de DJ pour la célèbre boîte de nuit « Les Bains ».

L'enseigne, exploitée par la société FBO dans le cadre d'un contrat de location-gérance avec la société Vima. A la société FBO a succédé la société Royal Colisée dans la location-gérance de cet établissement.

M.X..., qui effectuait des prestations pour la société FBO, a été engagé, à compter du 25 février 2004, par la société Royal Casino, dans le cadre d'un contrat de travail à temps partiel avec une période d'essai d'une durée d'un mois, renouvelable.

Durant la période d'essai, la société a mis fin au contrat.

Le 26 janvier 2004 et le 23 juin 2005, les sociétés FBO et Royal Casino ont été mises en liquidation judiciaire.

Monsieur X... saisit la juridiction prud'homale. Il estimait en effet être lié à la société FBO par un contrat de travail, transféré dès lors à la société Royal Casino.

Par conséquent, la période d'essai était illicite, et le licenciement sans cause réelle et sérieuse.

En outre, il demandait à ce que soient fixées au passif de la procédure collective de la société FBO diverses créances à titre de rappel de salaire, de congés payés et d'indemnité forfaitaire pour travail dissimulé.

La cour d'appel rejeta sa demande, estimant qu'il n'y avait aucun contrat de travail liant la société à lui.

Il forma alors un pourvoi en cassation.

2) Le Disc Jockey (DJ) est un artiste du spectacle

La cour d'appel rejeté la demande de Monsieur X....

En effet, elle a estimé que celui-ci ne bénéficiait pas du statut de DJ « résident » sur son Pass, mais seulement la simple mention de « disc jockey ». Que dès lors, ne disposant d'une telle mention sur son Pass, son travail n'avait qu'un caractère ponctuel.

Par ailleurs, l'intéressé ne présentait aucun contrat de travail écrit, aucun bulletin de salaire, ni preuve du versement d'une rémunération régulière, sous quelque forme que ce soit, impliquant un travail régulier, effectué dans le cadre d'un lien de subordination avec la Société FBO.

En l'espèce, la Chambre Sociale censure les juge du fond, et affirme quant à elle que tout contrat par lequel une personne s'assure, moyennant rémunération, le concours d'un artiste du spectacle en vue de sa production, est présumé être un contrat de travail dès lors que cet artiste n'exerce pas l'activité qui fait l'objet de ce contrat dans les conditions impliquant son inscription au registre du commerce.

La Haute juridiction reconnaît clairement (à notre connaissance pour la première fois) que le disc jockey est bien un artiste du spectacle.

3) La nécessaire vérification des conditions d'exercice de la prestation artistique fournie

On retient également de cet arrêt du 14 octobre 2009 que les juges du fond se doivent de vérifier les conditions dans lesquelles l'artiste exerce son travail.

En effet, aux termes de l'article L.7121-3 du Code du Travail : « tout contrat par lequel une personne physique ou morale s'assure, moyennant rémunération, le concours d'un artiste du spectacle en vue de sa production, est présumé être un contrat de travail dès lors que cet artiste n'exerce pas l'activité, objet de son contrat, dans des conditions impliquant son inscription au registre du commerce ».

La Cour de cassation ayant reconnu au disc-jockey le statut d'artiste du spectacle, il dispose donc d'une présomption de salariat.

De ce fait, la cour aurait dû rechercher non pas s'il présentait les caractéristiques inhérentes au contrat de travail, mais s'il exerçait une activité impliquant son inscription au registre du commerce.

Si cela avait été le cas, et qu'il avait exercé sa prestation dans des conditions nécessitant une inscription au registre de commerce, il aurait alors été soumis au régime des travailleurs indépendants.

En pratique, cela peut être le cas pour des artistes animateurs, qui possèdent leur propre société de production.

En conclusion, Platiniste ou Dee Jay, ils sont salariés, artistes du spectacle.

Frédéric CHHUM

avocat à la Cour

4, rue Bayard

75008 Paris

Tel : 01 42 89 24 48

e-mail : chhum@chhum-avocats.com

Par frederic.chhum le 09/10/11

1) La jurisprudence de la Cour de cassation

« Le renouvellement ou la prolongation de la période d'essai doit résulter d'un accord exprès des parties et exige une manifestation de volonté claire et non équivoque du salarié ne pouvant être déduite de la seule apposition de sa signature sur un document établi par l'employeur », décide la Chambre Sociale de la Cour de cassation, dans un arrêt du 25 novembre 2009 (n°08-43.008)

En l'espèce, avant la fin du préavis de trois mois du salarié, l'employeur lui avait présenté une lettre ainsi rédigée : « Je fais suite à notre entretien de ce jour et je vous confirme que nous avons décidé d'un commun accord et suivant les conditions de votre contrat de travail, de prolonger la période d'essai de trois mois ». Le salarié l'a alors contresignée.

Un mois plus tard (soit avant l'expiration du délai prolongé de la période d'essai), l'employeur décide de rompre la relation de travail, au motif qu'il met fin à la période d'essai.

Le salarié, estimant que cette rupture du contrat de travail est abusive, saisit la juridiction prud'homale, pour licenciement sans cause réelle et sérieuse.

La cour d'appel de Colmar a relevé que le contreseing du salarié est, en l'occurrence, équivoque, et ne manifeste pas clairement son acceptation du renouvellement ou de la prolongation de la période d'essai ; la Société a régularisé un pourvoi en cassation, qui a été rejeté.

La Chambre Sociale approuve la position de la cour d'appel et considère que la simple signature du salarié sur ce document ne suffisait pas à prouver l'acceptation expresse du salarié.

Cette position s'explique notamment par le fait que pendant la période d'essai, le salarié bénéficie d'une protection moindre, notamment en cas de licenciement.

2) Le jugement du Conseil de prud'hommes de Paris du 28 juin 2011 (M. X c/ VALORIM GESTION)

En l'occurence, une gestionnaire de copropriété appartenant à la société VALORIM contestait la rupture de sa période.

A cet égard, l'intéressée avait une période d'essai de 3 mois renouvelable.

Elle avait reçu, en main propre, un courrier de l'employeur qui renouvelait sa période d'essai comme lui permettait le contrat de travail et avait apposé sa seule signature sur le courrier sans autre mention.

Elle a contesté la rupture aux motifs que le renouvellement de son essai était illicite puisqu'elle n'avait pas manifesté son acceptation pour le renouvellement.

Le Conseil de prud'hommes de Paris lui donne gain de cause et VALORIM est condamnée à payer à l'intéressée : une indemnité de préavis de 3 mois, les congés payés afférents, une indemnité pour non respect de la procédure et des dommages intérêts pour rupture abusive du contrat de travail.

Les employeurs doivent donc être vigilant, et prendre la précaution d'apposer une mention qui pourrait être « Bon pour accord pour renouveler la période d'essai, lu et approuvé » sur les lettres renouvellement de périodes d'essai, afin d'éviter au maximum les risques de contestation par les salariés.

A défaut, la sanction est sévère.

Frédéric CHHUM

Avocat à la Cour

4, rue Bayard 75008 Paris

tél : 01 42 89 24 48

ligne directe : 01 42 56 03 00

email : chhum@chhum-avocats.com

Par frederic.chhum le 04/03/11

1) Facts: John Galliano could have made racist and anti-Semitic remarks

Arrested on February 24th, 2011, in the evening, following an altercation at the “La Perle” cafe, a trendy bar in the Marais (Paris III), John Galliano, drunk, would have hurled to a Jewish woman “Dirty Jewish face, you should be dead” and her boyfriend “Asian fucking bastard, I will kill you”.

The British designer was hired in 1996 by Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH, to “give back to Dior punch and visibility.”

Since 1999, he led all women's lines, leather goods, perfumes and the overall image of the brand, communication included.

Dior's reputation owes much to The “bankable” designer: the House has over 160 shops in the world (against 16 to his arrival), and its turnover amounted to 410 million Euros.

Provocative and unpredictable, John Galliano makes Dior's shows unavoidable and electric.

Today, his behavior, already condemned by the House, could ultimately cost him his career.

Indeed, few hours after the revelation of this affair, which occurred few days before the opening of Fashion Week, Dior's CEO, Sidney Toledano, announced: "Dior maintains, with the greatest firmness, its zero tolerance policy against any racist or anti-Semitic remarks or attitude [...] which are in total contradiction with the core values that have always been defended. Pending the results of the investigation, Dior's designer, John Galliano, is suspended from his duties. "

In the process, Dior's designer is covered by a new complaint for similar offenses that allegedly occurred in October 2010.

Finally, a video of December 12th, 2010, posted on Monday 28th February, 2011, on the Sun's website, finally discredit the designer, in which, visibly drunk, he insulted people sitting next to him and launch them “I love Hitler. [...] People like you are dead. Your mothers, your fathers are all fucking gassed.” According to the Sun, the scene was also held at "La Perle".

On 1st of March 2011, the news has come as bolt from the blue, Dior announced its decision to dismiss the designer: “Today, because of the particularly odious behavior and comments made by John Galliano in a video released Monday, Dior has decided his suspension and has initiated a dismissal procedure against him.”

Although the designer has apologized of his conduct, on Wednesday 2nd March, 2011 afternoon, via a press release, his career seems threatened.

2) The dismissal procedure

a) Suspension of 28th, February, 2011

In this case, there is a suspension pending confirmation of dismissal; it is justified by a serious fault, necessarily immediate effect and for an indefinite period (Article L. 1332-3 of the Labour Code).

The suspension is adopted by Dior as part of a disciplinary procedure, probably a dismissal for serious misconduct. It allows removing the designer from the company pending the sanction.

John Galliano's employment contract is suspended during the procedure; Dior would not have to pay him.

b) Preliminary discussion before dismissal: not until March 8th, 2011

John Galliano has probably been called to the preliminary discussion before his dismissal the day of LVMH President's release, Monday, February 28th, 2011.

Article L. 1232-2 of the French Labour Code provides that the period between the notice of the preliminary discussion and the preliminary discussion is five working days.

In the case, under sections 641 and 642 of the Civil Procedure Code, if the date of first presentation of the preliminary discussion's notice takes place Monday, February 28th, the period runs from Tuesday 1st March, it normally expires Saturday, March 5th, is extended until Monday, March 7th, so that the preliminary discussion may take place before Tuesday, March 8th.

3) Ground for dismissal: “characterized disorder to the company” ("trouble caractérisé à l'entreprise") ?

a) Facts relating to privacy

The charges against John Galliano and invoked as grounds for dismissal were held outside its time and place of work.

Thus, the question arises whether it is possible to dismiss an employee for acts relating to his privacy.

In principle, everyone is entitled to respect for his privacy, and the employer cannot interfere in the personal life of his employee.

It follows that, without exception, "the acts committed by an employee that does not correlate with his employment cannot be faulted" (Cass. Court. March 5th, 2000, No. 98-44022).

According to this principle, John Galliano could not therefore be dismissed for acts that occurred outside of his employment contract.

There is one exception, the "characterized disorder to the company", as Dior will probably raise against his Artistic Director.

b) The exception of “characterized disorder to the company”?

"If, in principle, an employee cannot be dismissed for a fact from his private life, it is different when his behavior has created a disorder in the Company" (Cass. soc. September 14, 2010 No. 09-65675).

This assumes that the allegations are based on objective and serious facts, attributable to the employee.

But more often, this objective disorder is, in practice, characterized regarding to the purpose of the company and the employee's duties.

In this case, John Galliano manages, since 1999, Dior's overall image and communication, he must behave as a brand's ambassador, embodying its principles and values, at any time.

In such regard, John Galliano's “odious” remarks create, according to us, obviously "a characterized disorder to the company."

Moreover, the fact that this case has become a global made brief, and a famous actress, face of the brand, says publicly its strong disagreement with the creator, are probably sufficient reasons to justify John Galliano's dismissal, because its tarnish Company's image. Similarly, Dior, which has an international and, therefore, multiracial clientele, could invoke a risk of lower sales to explain this decision.

However, the Court of Cassation (Cass. Court. September 14, 2010 No. 09-65675) poses a limit to this interference in the exercise of employees' liberties by refusing to assent such a disorder on the ground of disciplinary dismissal. Accordingly, Dior will only dismiss John Galliano within a non-disciplinary procedure, legitimized by an objective situation causing a disorder to the Company.

On March 2, 2011, the results of the police investigation on the remarks made by the star designer are unknown, and he benefits from the presumption of innocence (art. 11 of the UDHR).

At the end of the day, in the age of new technologies, an employee, as famous as he is, must be irreproachable, both during the execution of his employment contract as in his privacy.

Frédéric CHHUM

Lawyer

Camille COLOMBO

Labor Law Jurist

Phone : 01 42 89 24 48

Hotline : 01 42 56 03 00

e-mail : chhum@chhum-avocats.com

Website : www.chhum-avocats.com

Blog : http://avocats.fr/space/avocat-chhum

Par frederic.chhum le 20/09/10

Where a company that has its main place of business outside of France and no offices in France wishes to hire a salaried employee on French territory (employeur sans établissement en France), specific rules apply with regards to the payment of social security contributions. This includes social security, CSG (cotisation sociale généralisée / general social contribution), CRDS (contribution pour le remboursement de la dette sociale / contribution for the reimbursement of the social debt), as well as employment insurance and additional retirement contributions.

According to a French ministry of health circular dated June 29th, 2004, a foreign employer having no business office in France (employeur étranger sans établissement immatriculé en France) must, pursuant to article L. 243-1-2 of the French Social Security Code, fulfil its obligations regarding the declaration and payment of social contributions to which he is bound as the employer of a salaried employee.

In this respect, the company may pay these social contributions either directly, or through a designated representative who may fulfil all required formalities and pay the corresponding contributions; in the latter case, the representative, who must reside in France, becomes personally liable for the payment of the aforementioned contributions and may, upon default, be obligated to pay. Note that representatives may be either a legal or physical entity, including an accountant, etc.

Required formalities:

Employers having no offices in France are required to send all of the following documents to one sole organism in charge of receiving payment, the URSAFF's Strasbourg office.

1 - The declaration of establishment of a company (the“M0” form in schedule 1) must be filled out. This form is available online at http://reseaucfe.inpi.fr/formulaires/pdf/m0.pdf

Please note that, it has not yet been adapted to the specificities of a foreign company having no business office in France. Thus, only paragraphs 2, 2 bis, 3, 4, 9, 10 and 16 of the “M0 form” must be filled out.

2 - A sole hiring declaration (“Déclaration Unique d'Embauche”) must be completed.

Should the company wish to appoint a representative residing in France, he will be required by the URSSAF's Strasbourg office the signed “representative contract”.

Contact details of the URSAFF Strasbourg office responsible for receiving payment of social contributions by foreign companies having a sole representative in France:Strasbourg 16, rue Contades 67307 Schittigheim Cedex.

Frédéric CHHUM

AVOCAT A LA COUR

chhum@chhum-avocats.com

www.chhum-avocats.com

Par frederic.chhum le 16/04/10

1) Definition

The employer and the employee can agree in common on the conditions of the breach of the employment contract (art. L. 1237-11 of French labour code).

This breach is formalized by an agreement signed by the parties.

2) Procedure

During one or several interviews, the employer and the employee agree on the principle of a conventional breach.

During such interviews, the employee can be assisted either by an employee of his/her company or if the company does not have any staff representative, by an outside counsel, listed on a list drawn up by the administrative authority or an employee of his/ her company.

3) The breach agreement (“convention de rupture”)

It defines the conditions of the breach, in particular the amount of the specific compensation of conventional breach in the compensation planned in the article L. 1234-9 of the French labour code (i.e: the dismissal indemnity).

It fixes the date of breach of the contract, which cannot intervene before the day after the day of the certification (“Homologation”).

4) Right of retraction

As from the signature of such agreement, each party has a right of retraction within 15 day time limit.

This right must be exercised by a letter (a registered letter with recorded delivery is deeply recommended).

5) Certification of the agreement

At the end of the 15 day delay of revocation, the most diligent party must send a demand of certification to the administrative authority, with a copy of the breach agreement.

The ministry of employment provides a model of certification.

The administrative authority instructs the agreement during 15 days.

In case the administrative authority does not respond to the proposed breach agreement, such agreement as valid.

The validity of the agreement is subordinated to its certification: any dispute concerning the agreement, in such case the Labour Tribunal (“Conseil de prud'hommes”) is competent.

6) Protected staff representatives (union delegate, member of the workers'council, etc.)

The conventional breach of the employment contract of protected staff representatives is subjected to the authorization of the work inspector.

It should be noted that such breach can intervene only the day following such authorization.

7) Compensations paid for conventional breach: exempted from insurance contributions (except “CSG/ CRDS”) and from income tax

Compensations paid for the conventional breach are exempted from national insurance contributions and from income tax for the employee within the limits of the highest amount:

. Twice the annual gross remuneration served to the employee preceding the breach of the employment contract, within the limits of 6 times of the amount of the Social Security ceiling (207,720 euros in 2010); or

. 50 % of the amount of the compensation, within the limits of 6 times the amount of the Social Security Ceiling (207,720 in 2010); or

. The amount of the dismissal indemnity sets forth by the collective agreement or by the law.

Frédéric CHHUM avocat à la Cour

Diane BUISSON

e-mail : chhum@chhum-avocats.com

www.chhum-avocats.com

tel 01 42 89 24 48

Par frederic.chhum le 09/03/10

The industrial and commercial public establishment “Réunion des musées nationaux” (RMN) recruited security guards for exhibitions, by fixed-term contracts. Those employees worked in the national gallery of the Great Palace during the temporary exhibitions periods.

The employees referred the case to the French employment tribunal (“Conseil des prud'hommes”) to ask for a re-skilling (“re-qualification”) of their contracts in open-ended contracts. Then, an appeal was lodged and the Court of appeal admitted the re-skilling in open-ended contracts. The decision of the Court of appeal has been confirmed by the French Supreme Court.

The question asked to the Court was this one: Can an employer use fixed-term contracts for a temporary increase of activity, to employ security guards during yearly, temporary and organised exhibitions?

The Supreme Court, in a decision of December 10th 2008 (n°06-46.349 and n°06-46.360), takes up the decision grounds of the Court of appeal and states that the temporary exhibitions of the RMN regularly happened, at the same frequency each year, on the same annual periods, at the same place and following the same organisation.

Consequently, even if each exhibition was temporary, all the exhibitions constituted a permanent activity, and not a casual one. Even if the exhibitions were intermittent, they were included into the same mission.

Moreover, there was no documentary evidence to prove that the employees were recruited only because of an increase of activity.

For those grounds, the Court confirms the decision to re-skill the contracts in open-ended contracts.

To conclude, the use of fixed-term contracts for cyclical variation of activity is admitted, and it is what the employer invoked. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has a limited interpretation of the variation of activity which must be unforeseeable (see the case law Soc. January 21st of 2004 n°03-42.769).

As a conclusion, an employer cannot recruit by fixed-term contracts when he regularly programs a temporary activity in a foreseeable way, which excludes variation in the normal activity of a firm.

Frédéric CHHUM Avocat à la Cour

Anissa YEFTENE

www.chhum-avocats.com

e-mail : chhum@chhum-avocats.com

Par frederic.chhum le 08/03/10

Kürzlich musste sich die HALDE (Gremium zur Bekämpfung jeglicher Art von Diskriminierungen und für Gleichstellung) mit der Frage der Diskriminierung im Bereich des Synchronisierens auseinandersetzen. Sie war von einer farbigen Schauspielerin angerufen worden, der ein Synchronisierungsauftrag verweigert wurde, mit der Begründung ihre Stimme sei zu eigenartig. Die HALDE hat darauf hingewiesen, dass die Auswahl eines Schauspielers für die Synchronisation nur auf den Eigenschaften seiner Stimme und seiner Kompetenz beruhen darf, auf keinen Fall aber auf seiner Hautfarbe oder Herkunft.

Solch eine Diskriminierung ist natürlich streng verboten. Der Artikel L. 1132-1 des französischen Arbeitsgesetzbuchs verbietet jegliche direkt oder indirekt diskriminierende Maßnahme, die auf Herkunft, wahrer oder zugeschriebener Zugehörigkeit oder Nichtzugehörigkeit zu einer ethnischen Gruppe, einem Staat oder einer Rasse gründet, und dies besonders bei der Neueinstellung eines Mitarbeiters. Laut den Artikeln 225-1 und 225-2 des Strafgesetzbuchs ist Diskriminierung eine Straftat, die mit drei Jahren Freiheitsentzug und 45000 Euro Geldstrafe bestraft wird.

Obwohl in diesem konkreten Fall die Diskriminierung nicht nachgewiesen werden konnte, hat die Untersuchung der HALDE ergeben, dass im Bereich der Synchronisation viele Vorurteile existieren: Oft wird davon ausgegangen, dass ein weißer Schauspieler eine universelle Stimme hat, während ein farbiger Schauspieler angeblich nur die Texte farbiger Schauspieler synchronisieren kann, sodass farbige Schauspieler nur in seltenen Fällen für das Synchronisieren weißer Schauspieler engagiert werden.

Die HALDE empfiehlt der FICAM (dem Verband der Kinoindustrien, des audiovisuellen und des Medienbereichs), sowie der Union des Sociétés de Doublage (Union der Synchronisierungsgesellschaften), Information zum Prinzip der Nichtdiskriminierung zu verbreiten und Fortbildungsmaßnahmen dies betreffend für ihr Personal zu organisieren.

Frédéric Chhum Avocat à la Cour

Julie Spinola

www.chhum-avocats.com

e-mail: chhum@chhum-avocats.com

Par frederic.chhum le 05/03/10

By a decision of April 30rst, 2009 n°07-40.527, the French Supreme Court of appeal (Cour de cassation) completes its case law about the principle “equal pay for equal work” by broadening it to the traders' bonus.

1) Facts and procedure

A trader qualified as a “financial analyst” was given a variable bonus. This one was fixed discretionary by the employer.

Contrary to his colleagues, the trader has seen his bonus progressively reduced each year, then totally suppressed by the employer, before being fired.

This employee raised the case to the French Employment Tribunal (Conseil de prud'hommes) by claiming discrimination.

The Court of appeal rejected his claim by stating that the discretionary criterion of this bonus prevented the application of the principle “equal pay for equal work”, and that the employee did not bring the evidence to be victim of discrimination.

Then the employee went to the Supreme Court of appeal (Cour de cassation) which received his claim favourably.

2) Solution

First, the Supreme Court of appeal reminds that it is to the employer to establish that the wage difference between employees doing the same work is justified by objective and discerning elements.

French judges apply the European Community Law in the discrimination and equality of treatment matters.

The objectivity requirement chases away the discretionary power and the discerning requirement refers to the respect of the proportionality principle, dear to the European Community.

The evidence supported is lightened for the employee who only has to bring some facts which presume the difference of treatment. The employer would have so to establish that the wage difference is justified.

Moreover, the Supreme Court of appeal adds that the employer cannot put forward his discretionary power to escape from his obligation to justify unequal measures (See the press release from the Cour de cassation: www.courdecassation.fr).

As a conclusion, the Social Chamber rightly decides that regarding to the principle “equal pay for equal work” the only fact that a bonus is leave to the free assessment of the employer, does not justify a wage difference.

An employer cannot give bonus and taking them back at will. He has to respect the principle “equal pay for equal work” or prove a possible objective and discerning reason, which will be check by judges who will assess it advantage by advantage.

Regarding to this case law, in our opinion, employer cannot grant discretionary bonus anymore, each measure taken would have to be justify regarding to the principle “equal pay for equal work”.

The advice to employers could be to inform in advance the employees about the bonus attribution criterions, by the means of memorandum or negotiation with trade unions. Transparency reigns.

Frédéric CHHUM avocat à la Cour

Anissa YEFTENE

www.chhum-avocats.com

e-mail : chhum@chhum-avocats.com

Par frederic.chhum le 05/03/10

Today, age is one of the first discrimination grounds in Europe and in France. People who are the most concerned are the “young” who start on the labour market and the “old” who are near from retirement.

The EU Law creates a global law protection against those discriminations.

1) General Principles

Following the article 13 of the EC Treaty, the Directive 2000/78 of November 27th, 2000 “creating a general framework in favor of equality treatment in the employment and work area” rules the fight against work discriminations and especially discrimination based on age.

The famous decision Mangold of November 22nd, 2005 proclaims a general principle of EC Law of non-discrimination based on age.

This principle is very specific because it permits a huge number of justifications of discrimination, even direct, based on age.

2) Special dispensation

Indeed, Member States can foresee some justifications for social political reasons : employment, labour market and professional training.

Employers can also justify direct discriminations based on age when they prove an essential professional requirement and regarding to involuntary retirement (“mise à la retraite d'office”).

The European Community Court of Justice decided in the case law Palacios de la Villa of October 16th, 2007 that involuntary retirement was a reason to justify a breach of the principle of non-discrimination based on age.

This decision has been remind in the ECCJ's case law of March 5th, 2009 The Incorporated Trustees of National Council on Ageing. Employer can dismiss an employee who reaches the retirement age if he proves that the means used were necessary and suitable.

However, the ECCJ makes sure that Member States respect the proportionality principle and apply the lawful and objective justification test.

Indeed, in any case, each special dispensation to respect the non-discrimination principle has to be justified by a lawful and proportional aim and the means used have to be necessary and suitable.

States must exercise this control without the necessity to make an exhaustive list of the justified discriminations.

The principle of non-discrimination based on age is protected by the European Law but in certain circumstances, the right to be distinguished according to age interferes with this principle.

This is the reason why the European Union tempts to construct an age protection of the European workers by including non-discrimination and a right to be distinguished, especially by the means of positive actions.

3) European Union scope

However, this protection is limited to the EC scope. It was stated in ECCJ's case law of September 23rd, 2008 Bartsch.

A link is necessary between the challenged Statute and the European Law : article 13 TCE was not applicable to release the ECCJ competence and the Directive 2000/78 is not applicable when facts happened after the transposition of this latter.

4) Assistance and appeal

Finally, one person who thinks he/she is victim of a discrimination based on age has, in each Member State, privileged interlocutor and specific appeal : in France, associations, trade unions, Comities or even Worker Inspector can be used and the HALDE (with is the specific independent organization competent for discriminations) is an alternative way to rule the cases which is very efficient and more and more used. At the latest step, employee could refer the case to the Employment Tribunals.

Frédéric CHHUM Avocat à la Cour

Anissa YEFTENE

www.chhum-avocats.com

e-mail :chhum@chhum-avocats.com

Par frederic.chhum le 26/11/09

Since December 2007, Frédéric CHHUM has created his eponym law firm dedicated to French and international labor law (counsel and litigation); Frédéric CHHUM advises French and foreign companies, as well as employees, executives (“cadres”) and senior executives (“dirigeants”).

Frédéric CHHUM has an extensive experience in labor law (counsel and litigation) and especially in advertising, communication and media sectors; in this respect, Frédéric CHHUM is the author of two books L'intermittent du spectacle (2004 LexisNexis) and Intermittents quels sont vos droits ? (2004 Prat).

To provide advice to his clients in other matters, Frédéric CHHUM has a network of experienced avocats in corporate, intellectual property, press law and communication law and tax law in France and in Europe.

Frédéric CHHUM is avocat at the Paris Bar since 1997.

Frédéric CHHUM worked as associate in several international law firm in Paris.

Frédéric CHHUM writes regularly in EuroWatch, Légipresse and Les Echos.

Location : 4, rue Bayard 75008 Paris

Phone : +33 (0)1 42 89 24 48

Fax : +33 (0)1 42 89 55 25

E-mail: chhum@chhum-avocats.com

Website: www.chhum-avocats.com