Par frederic.chhum le 06/09/18

In a decision of June 27th , 2018 (Cass Soc., June 27th , 2018, n° 16-28515), the Social Chamber of the Supreme Court adopted a particularly harsh position with regard to companies that practice systematic renewal of trial periods (période d’essai).

Indeed, the Social Chamber considered that the termination of the trial period of an employee should produce the effects of a unfair dismissal (licenciement sans cause réelle et sérieuse) since the renewal of it had not been justified by the need to assess the employee's professional skills but resulted from a policy of automatic renewal of trial periods by the employer.

Although it is quite severe on employers, this decision is very favourable for employees and paves the way for a strong litigation (contentieux), relating to breaks in the trial period (ruptures de période d’essai).

I) Facts and procedure.

In the case submitted to her, she was employed as an officer (chargé de mission) whose trial period had been renewed with her express agreement and then terminated at the initiative of the employer.

The employee, who requested that the termination of her trial period produces the effects of a unfair dismissal because of the improper nature of the renewal of which she had been the subject, had won her case before the Court of Appeal.

The company had therefore appealed in cassation.

II) Reminders on the trial period and its renewal.

Recall that the trial period is defined by Article L. 1221-20 of the Labour Code which attaches a specific purpose: "The trial period allows the employer to assess the skills of the employee in his work, especially in view of his experience, and the employee to assess whether the positions occupied fit him./her »

It can only be renewed once provided that this possibility of renewal is provided for by the extended branch collective agreement applicable to the company and expressly indicated in the letter of engagement or the employment contract.

In addition, the renewal must be expressly accepted by the employee before the end of the initial trial period.

Above all, renewal must be justified in the light of the purpose of the Labour Code in the trial period.

III) Thesis (theses) of the parties.

To justify the renewal, the company argued, in support of its appeal, that the employee was employed in a technical job and that she was one of the employees with the highest level of qualification in the company so that the renewal was necessary to ensure his suitability for his position.

Conversely, the employee showed that the renewal of her trial period was not the result of any need to continue her evaluation but only of a systematic practice of the company.

In support of this assertion, the employee was giving two emails in which company executives made specific reference to this systematic practice and showed that seven other colleagues had also had their trial period renewed without objective justification.

IV) Solution.

Based on the elements reported by the employee, the Court of Appeal had ruled that the renewal by the company did not meet the purpose of the trial period.

She then drew all the classic legal consequences: since the renewal was not valid, the employee was on a permanent contract and the breakdown therefore amounted to a dismissal necessarily deprived of any real and serious cause giving entitlement to the indemnities (compensatory indemnity of notice [Indemnité compensatrice de préavis] severance pay [indemnité de licenciement], damages for unfair dismissal) [indemnité pour licenciement sans cause réelle et sérieuse].

The Supreme Court fully validated the decision of the Court of Appeal and therefore dismissed the appeal brought by the company.

V) What to remember from this decision.

The Supreme Court ruled that "the Court of Appeal noted, by a sovereign appreciation of the facts and evidence submitted for its examination, out any distortion, the renewal of the trial period of the employee does not had not intended to assess his powers and had been diverted from his purpose, and thus legally justified his decision.”

This decision, although not published in the Bulletin of the Court of Cassation, deserves to be underlined since it can have serious consequences for companies that have the habit of automatically renewing the trial periods without being able to justify the need to additional time to assess the ability of the employee concerned to occupy the workstation for which he was hired.

An employee whose trial period has been improperly renewed before being terminated may in fact avail himself of this case law to claim all the indemnities due in the event of dismissal without real and serious cause (compensatory indemnity of notice, indemnity of dismissal, indemnity for dismissal without real and serious cause).

Frédéric CHHUM, Avocats à la Cour (Paris et Nantes)

. Paris : 4 rue Bayard 75008 Paris - Tel: 01 42 56 03 00 ou 01 42 89 24 48
. Nantes : 41, Quai de la Fosse 44000 Nantes -  Tel: 02 28 44 26 44

e-mail :

Blog :!/fchhum

Par frederic.chhum le 06/01/14

The "rupture conventionnelle" was originally intended to be marginal. But nobody anticipated such a success: it became one of Nicolas Sarkozy's quiquennium's flagship projects (more than 1,2 million of mutually agreed terminations have been signed since 2008).

1) Definition and Interest of concluding a mutual agreed termination (rupture conventionnelle)

The mutually agreed termination (rupture conventionnelle) allows the employer and the employee to terminate the employment contract by a mutual agreement.

Each party has its advantage. For example, the employer is exempt from the labor law requirements (deadlines, procedures, notice ...) inherent to dismissal and the employee sees benefits compared to the resignation procedure. He/she will receive an indemnity when he/she will conclude a mutual agreed termination and especially will be eligible for French unemployment benefit (allocations chômage).

However, this measure has been largely misused. Actually, companies often convene employees and tell them: "You can choose between mutually agreed termination (rupture conventionnelle) and a dismissal!”

So, how much to negotiate its mutually agreed termination (rupture conventionnelle)?

2) How much my company has to pay me if I conclude a mutually agreed termination?

Your employer has to pay you at least a specific allowance (indemnité spécifique de rupture), and the amount can't be less than the dismissal indemnity applicable in the company's collective bargaining agreement, or failing that, to the dismissal indemnity according to the French labor code (Article R.1234-2 of the French labor code).

However, this amount is a minimum, and it is negotiable.

3) How much to negotiate its mutual agreed termination?

To negotiate at best, you need to assess the indemnity you could get before the labor law tribunal in case of unfair dismissal.

Thus, the mutually agreed termination's indemnity to negotiate shall be the sum of the following four amounts:

3.1) The amount of compensation in lieu of notice: the duration of your notice period is provided by the collective agreement applicable in your company (1 to 3 months depending on whether you are an employee or a managerial employee (cadre));

3.2) The amount of the holiday pay on notice, equal to 10% of the gross amount of your compensation payment notice;

3.3) The amount of the contractual dismissal indemnity (under the collective agreement applicable in your company) or, alternatively, the statutory dismissal indemnity (Article R.1234-2 of the French labor law);

4) "Supra-legal" compensation:

* If you have more than 2 years of service within your company and working in a company employing more than 10 employees:

o If you have between 2 and 5 years of service within your company: the supra legal compensation should be equivalent to six months' salary;

o If you are between 5 and 10 years of service within your company: the supra legal compensation should be equivalent to 12 months' salary;

o If you are between 10 and 20 years of service within your company : the supra legal compensation should be equivalent to 15 months' salary;

o If you are over 20 years of service: the equivalent of 20 months' salary;

* If you have less than 2 years of service and working in a company with fewer than 11 employees: between 1 and 6 months of salary.

You must also obtain the balance of the unused holiday paid remaining.

The salary to be taken into account for the calculation of the above amounts, according to the most advantageous formula for you:

o Either one-twelfth of your annual gross salary of the twelve months preceeding the dismissal;

o Or the average of the latest three months.

5) Net or gross amount of the indemnity?

Finally, it should be noted that the negotiation must be done on a net amount (not gross) the indemnity paid under a mutually agreed termination is subject to CSG / CRDS.

Of course, in all cases, it is recommended for employees to be assisted by a lawyer/avocat.

Frédéric CHHUM Avocat à la Cour 4, rue Bayard 75008 Paris

Tél : Ligne directe:

e-mail :


Par frederic.chhum le 14/07/13

Maître Frédéric CHHUM is listed in the Legal 500 Paris 2013/2014, in the category French labour law lawyer.

The Legal 500 2013/2014 indicates :

"Frédéric Chhum du Cabinet Frédéric Chhum est très présent dans les domaines de la publicité, de l'audiovisuel, des médias et du spectacle vivant. Il atteste notamment d'une très bonne connaissance du statut des intermittents du spectacle et représente majoritairement des salariés, des cadres, des dirigeants, des journalistes et des techniciens du spectacle. Il assiste également des entreprises".

Frédéric CHHUM Avocat à la Cour

4, rue Bayard 75008 Paris

Tél : Ligne directe :

e-mail :


Par frederic.chhum le 02/01/13

Melissa NELSON est devenue l'icône mondiale des salariées à l'apparence physique avantageuse. Assistante dentaire depuis 10 ans du Docteur Knight, dentiste, elle a été licenciée, en 2010, aux motifs, qu'elle était trop belle ou plutôt qu'elle mettait potentiellement en danger le mariage de son patron. Dans un arrêt du 21 décembre 2012 (n°11-1857) qui a fait le Tour du monde, la Cour Suprême de l'IOWA a jugé que son licenciement était « unfair » (c'est-à-dire abusif) mais pas discriminatoire.

Quelle aurait été la position d'un juge français, dans une telle hypothèse ? Tentative de droit comparé.

1) Rappel des faits : Melissa NELSON versus Docteur Knight

Melissa NELSON était employée en qualité d'Assistante dentaire depuis 1999 ; elle était considérée par son employeur comme une employée modèle. Toutefois, le Docteur Knight, son employeur jugeait parfois ses tenues trop « près du corps » et « distracting » (distrayantes) et il lui a demandé, parfois, de mettre une blouse blanche. La salariée et le Docteur s'échangèrent des textos sur leur vie privée.

La femme du Docteur Knight, qui travaillait également dans le cabinet de son mari, tomba, un jour sur ces textos et demanda à son mari de licencier la salariée car elle était « une grande menace pour leur mariage ». Ils consultèrent leur pasteur qui fût d'accord sur le principe du licenciement de la salariée, en 2010. La salariée contesta son licenciement devant les tribunaux et la Cour Suprême de l'IOWA vient de juger que son licenciement était « unfair » (c'est-à-dire sans cause) mais pas discriminatoire.

2) Le licenciement de Melissa NELSON discriminatoire au regard du droit français ?

L'article L. 1132-1 du code du travail prohibe les discriminations directes ou indirectes, liées à l'origine d'un salarié, à son sexe, ses moeurs, son orientation sexuelle, son âge, sa situation de famille ou de sa grossesse, ses caractéristiques génétiques, (...) ou à son apparence physique.

En l'occurrence, si le licenciement de Melissa NELSON par le Docteur Knight est lié, directement ou indirectement, à son apparence physique, à savoir, sa plastique parfaite, celui-ci aurait été jugé nul et de nul effet par la Cour de cassation.

En effet, la Cour de cassation aurait pu considérer que le motif réel du licenciement était lié à l'apparence physique de Melissa NELSON et non au fait qu'elle « mettait en danger le mariage » de son employeur.

En cas de licenciement jugé discriminatoire, Melissa NELSON aurait pu obtenir la réintégration dans son emploi avec rappel de salaires afférents et des dommages intérêts pour discrimination liée à son apparence physique. Toutefois, avait-elle intérêt à être réintégrée à son emploi ?

3) Le licenciement de Melissa NELSON, justifié par un trouble caractérisé à l'entreprise ?

Le Docteur Knight plaidait que le physique de Melissa NELSON mettait en danger son couple ; il était soutenu par son pasteur, ce qui est un curieux mélange des genres (pour nous français). On peut toutefois s'étonner que le dentiste n'ait découvert que Melissa NELSON « mettait en péril », son couple alors qu'il l'employait, depuis plus de 10 ans, et qu'ils avaient eu, dans l'intervalle, des enfants dans leurs couples respectifs.

En France, le Docteur Knight aurait, peut-être, pu se prévaloir de la jurisprudence, qui autorise le licenciement d'un salarié, lorsqu'il existe un trouble caractérisé à l'entreprise. La Cour de cassation a jugé que « Si, en principe, il ne peut être procédé à un licenciement pour un fait tiré de la vie privée du salarié, il en va autrement lorsque le comportement de celui-ci a créé un trouble caractérisé au sein de l'entreprise » (Cass. soc. 14 septembre 2010 n° 09-65675). Cela suppose que les faits reprochés reposent sur des éléments objectifs imputables au salarié, un comportement ou des agissements personnels. Mais le plus souvent, ce trouble objectif est, en pratique, caractérisé au regard de la finalité de l'entreprise et des fonctions du salarié.

En l'occurrence, les faits reprochés à Melissa NELSON ne relève pas de sa vie privée mais de ses tenues vestimentaires qui étaient jugées trop « attirantes ». L'ancienneté importante de Melissa NELSON et le fait qu'elle avait une vie de famille et deux enfants, plaide plutôt en sa faveur.

En conclusion, il n'est pas impossible que la Cour de cassation aurait jugé le licenciement de Melissa NELSON comme discriminatoire, car lié à l'apparence physique (flatteuse) de Melissa NELSON, même si le dentiste plaidait que le licenciement était justifié par l'attitude de cette dernière, qui mettait en péril son mariage. A tout le moins, à l'instar de la Cour Suprême de l'IOWA, il est probable qu'un juge français jugerait le licenciement, de Melissa NELSON, comme abusif.

Frédéric CHHUM

Avocat à la Cour

4, rue Bayard 75008 Paris

Tél :

Ligne directe:

e-mail :


Par frederic.chhum le 31/08/12

In a judgment of 24th November 2010 (09-40928), the French Supreme Court (Cour de cassation), provides guidance on evidence of overtime by an employee.

1) Article L. 3171-4 of the French Labor Code

Under Article L. 3171-4 of the Code du travail:

"In the event of a dispute concerning the existence or the number of hours worked, the employer provides the judge elements to justify the schedules actually made by the employee.

In light of these factors and those provided by the employee in support of his request, the judge forms his conviction after ordering, if necessary, all investigative measures it deems necessary.

If the count of hours worked by each employee is provided with a system of automatic registration, it must be reliable and tamper-proof. “

2) Judgment of 24 November 2010: a written breakdown (décompte écrit) established in writing, month by month, is sufficient

Pursuant to article L. 3171-4 of the French Labor Code, the Court of Cassation calls that, in litigation concerning the existence or the number of hours worked, it is to the employee to prove his claim by producing evidence sufficient specific, about schedules actually made to allow the employer to respond with its own elements.

In this case, the Court of Appeal of Toulouse had dismissed an employee for payment of overtime, because he/she "produced no evidence capable of establishing his/her request when it pays to count debate drawn in pencil, calculated on a monthly basis without further explanation or further particulars."

The Court of Cassation quashed the judgment of the Court of Appeal stating "that the employee had produced a count of the hours she claimed to have made that the employer could respond; the Court of Appeal violated the aforementioned text".

In conclusion, a written breakdown (décompte manuscript) established manuscript in pencil can be used to prove overtime under French law.

This is the employer then who has to prove the contrary by providing its own elements.

Frédéric CHHUM


Lisa CHEZE-DARTENCET, juriste en droit social

4, rue Bayard

75008 Paris

tel: 01 42 89 24 48

Direct Line: 01 42 56 03 00

e-mail :


Par frederic.chhum le 27/03/12

Les conventions de forfait sont de plus en plus encadrés par le jurisprudence et en particulier la Cour de cassation.

Il faut rappeler que dans un arrêt du 29 juin 2011, la Cour de cassation a considéré que faute d'un entretien annuel sur la charge de travail lié à la convention de forfait jours conformément à l'article L. 3121-46, celles ci devait être considérée comme de "nul effet".

Dans un arrêt du 28 février 2012 (n°10-27839), la Cour de cassation a retenu que l'employeur qui soumet un cadre au dispositif du forfait-jours sans avoir conclu une convention individuelle de forfait-jours doit être condamné à verser l'indemnité forfaitaire de 6 mois de salaire prévue en cas de travail dissimulé (C. trav. art. L. 8223-1).

1) Conditions pour recourir au forfait jours

Rappelons que la mise en place d'un forfait-jours nécessite :

- un accord collectif autorisant le recours au dispositif (C. trav. art. L. 3121-39), et garantissant le respect des durées maximales de travail ainsi que des repos journaliers et hebdomadaires ;

- une convention individuelle constatant l'accord du salarié (C. trav. art. L. 3121-40). Sur ce dernier point, « est insuffisant le seul renvoi général fait dans le contrat de travail à l'accord collectif » (Cass. soc. 31 janvier 2012, n°10-17.593).

A défaut de convention individuelle, le salarié peut réclamer le paiement des heures supplémentaires qu'il a effectuées (Cass. soc. 29 juin 2011, n°09-71.107).

2) A défaut de convention de forfait jours, le salarié peut aussi obtenir l'indemnité forfaitaire de 6 mois pour travail dissimulé

En outre, l'article L. 8221-5 du Code du travail exige la démonstration de l'élément intentionnel de l'employeur pour retenir l'infraction de travail dissimulé.

Il exclut la dissimulation d'emploi salarié lorsque le défaut de mention des heures supplémentaires sur le bulletin de salaire résulte d'une convention ou d'un accord collectif d'aménagement du temps de travail, ce qui est le cas de l'accord collectif autorisant le recours au dispositif.

Dans l'arrêt du 28 février 2012, l'employeur invoquait le fait que la preuve de l'élément intentionnel nécessaire à la caractérisation de l'infraction (Cass. soc. 24 mars 2004, n°01-43.875) n'était pas rapportée en l'espèce.

La Cour de cassation ne suivra pas le même raisonnement. En effet, les juges retiennent que le seul fait d'appliquer le forfait jours au salarié sans lui faire signer la convention individuelle et de ne pas lui payer ses heures supplémentaires, suffit à caractériser l'élément intentionnel de l'infraction de travail dissimulé.

En l'occurrence, le salarié qui a établi qu'il travaillait au-delà de la durée légale du travail a ainsi pu obtenir une indemnité forfaitaire de 6 mois de salaire prévue en cas de travail dissimulé (soit 17 292 € en l'espèce). Il faut préciser que cette indemnité ne se cumule pas avec l'indemnité légale ou conventionnelle de licenciement déjà perçue.

La jurisprudence retient en effet l'indemnité qui se révèle être la plus favorable au salarié (Cass. soc. 12 janvier 2006, n°04-42.190).

Par cet arrêt, la Chambre sociale renforce donc les sanctions liées au non-respect des conditions d'instauration des forfait-jours, dans la lignée des arrêts sur le droit à la santé et au repos, droit constitutionnellement garanti.

En conclusion :

- Pour les salariés : en l'absence de convention individuelle de forfait jours, ils peuvent réclamer le paiement des heures supplémentaires et l'indemnité forfaitaire de 6 mois pour travail dissimulé ;

- Pour les entreprises : elles doivent au plus vite régulariser des conventions de forfait jours écrites, si celles-ci ont été oubliées dans les contrats de travail, faute de quoi, elles s'exposent en cas de litige à payer l'indemnité forfaitaire de 6 mois pour travail dissimulé

Frédéric CHHUM

Avocat à la Cour

4, rue Bayard 75008 Paris

Tél :

Ligne directe:

e-mail :


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 :

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



Labor Law Jurist

Phone : 01 42 89 24 48

Hotline : 01 42 56 03 00

e-mail :

Website :

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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

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


Par frederic.chhum le 20/04/10

Article 2 of the law of June 25th 2008 introduces new duration for trial periods. It also determines conditions and procedures relating to their renewal, and defines the modalities for concluding such trial periods.

It provides for maximal durations of the trial periods and deletes the minimal duration of such trial periods.

It should be noted that the trial period must be expressly stipulated in the employment contract.

1) Duration of the trial period

Pursuant to Article L. 1221-19 of the French labour Code, an unlimited-term contract of employment, can contain a trial period with a maximal duration of:

- 2 months for the workers and the employees;

- 3 months for the supervisors and the technicians;

- 4 months for executives (“cadres”).

2) Renewal of the trial period

Such trial period can be renewed only once it is expressly set forth in a sectoral collective agreement. Therefore, the trial period, including its renewal, cannot exceed:

- 4 months for the workers and the employees;

- 6 months for the supervisors;

- 8 months for executives (“cadres”).

3) Breach of the trial period

If the employer terminates the trial period, it must respect a notice period of at least:

- 48 hours during the first month of presence;

- 2 weeks after a month of presence;

- 1 month after 3 months of presence.

If it is the employee who terminates, such trial period, he/she must be respect a 48 hour notice period.

4) Articulation with collective bargaining agreement concluded before and after the publication of the new law (article L. 1221-21 of the French Labour Code)

4.1) Sectoral collective bargaining agreement previous to the publication of the law:

Clauses fixing shorter durations are valid until June 30th, 2009.

After this date, if the staff representatives did not conclude a new agreement, periods planned by the law will substitute themselves and repeal the initially fixed trial periods.

But clauses fixing longer durations for trial period, remain valid.

Remark: Such clauses go against the principle of favour as in every case it is the longest trial period that will apply to the employee.

These provisions are also applicable to the renewal of the trial period

4.2) Sectoral collective bargaining agreement posterior to the publication of the law:

The collective bargaining agreement can fix shorter durations but it cannot plan longer durations.

Remark: Of course, the contract of employment can set forth a shorter trial period. The branch collective bargaining agreement can set forth only shorter trial periods than those set forth by law.

Frédéric CHHUM avocat à la Cour


Tel : 00 33 (0)1 42 89 24 48