Par frederic.chhum le 20/04/10

The conventional break doesn't aim amiable break, neither the collective agreement of manpower planning.

But on the other hand, the conventional law is possible to the protected staff representatives.

In this case the work inspector is competent to according an authorization for the certification of the agreement.

Step 1: The preparatory discussion

Such discussion is not subject to a particular formalism.

Such discussion takes place during one (or several) meeting(s).

But, the parties (i.e. the employer or the employee) can have a counsel; for the employee, this can be a member of the staff representatives, a union delegate or an employee of the company.

If the company has not staff representatives, the employee can to be assisted, during such discussion, by an “exterior counsel” (“conseiller extérieur”) registered on a list available to the administrative authority.

For the employer, he can be assisted (if the employee is assisted) by a member of the company.

Step 2: The conventional breach agreement

Such convention must contain compulsory provisions (the amount of the indemnity, the date of the breach, signature by both parties with the mention “read and approved” (“lu et approuvé”).

Step 3: The right to retract during a 15 day time limit

After the signature of the conventional breach agreement, the parties have a right to retract during a 15 day time limit.

This right must be exercised by a letter send by all means.

Step 4: The certification of agreement by the labour authority and date of breach of contract

The next day after the delay of retractation, the employer or the employee must send a request of certification for such breach agreement to the labour authority.

The authority has 15 days to check the validity of the agreement.

It checks if the case is receivable and if the demand is valid (free willingness of the parties, the amount of the indemnity...). The silence of the authority after the 15 day delay means acceptation of the certification.

The contract of employment can be terminated the next day after the certification of the agreement or, if the administration keeps the silence, after the delay of cheeking (15 days).

It should be noted that the parties can challenge the agreement before the Labour Tribunal and during 12 months from the signature of the agreement.

Frédéric CHHUM avocat à la Cour

Diane BUISSON

tel 01 42 89 24 48

e-mail : 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

Par frederic.chhum le 18/11/09

The circular n°2009-04 of March, 17th 2009 dealing with the conventional breach of no-ending contracts, specifies, in particular, the possibilities to use a conventional breach in a redundancy framework.

Indeed, the Law of June 25th, 2009 already limited the use of the conventional breach by excluding from its field the part of the French Labor Code about redundancy.

The circular of March, 17th 2009 specifies today such limitation's impact.

The circular (§1.3 and 1.4) points out that the conventional breach of contract and its following procedure are not applicable advantages when a protective provision of the freedom of consent already exists.

Thus, the out of court breach of contract, happening in the field of specific agreements as for example the anticipated management of employments and capacities (“Gestion prévisionnelle des emplois et des compétences”) or in the field of a social plan (“Plan de sauvegarde de l'emploi” : PSE) is clearly excluded from a conventional breach field.

Then, the circular explains the risks of a conventional breach in redundancies framework, especially collective ones.

In the opposite, if a firm suffers of economic difficulties, or even applies a social plan to some employments, it is not enough to exclude the conclusion of a conventional breach agreement.

Nevertheless, the happening of conventional breaches in such economic context, in a coordinated and organized way, can constituted deep suspicion evidence of ousting attempts of the legal redundancy procedure.

To conclude, it is not strictly forbidden for an employer to negotiate a conventional breach when redundancies are planned in the firm.

Procedures have to be separated and independent at that time.

In those circumstances, it is foreseeable that the Labour Authority (DDTE) will check that the redundancy procedure would not be ousted.

Frédéric CHHUM avocat à la Cour

Anissa YEFTENE

wwww.chhum-avocats.com

e-mail : chhum@chhum-avocats.com

Par frederic.chhum le 09/11/09

The article L.3111-2 of the French Labour Code defines the senior executive (“cadre dirigeant”) notion. It excludes them from the field of the titles II (working hours, distribution and organisation of hours) and III (weekly day off and bank holiday) of the thirst part of the French Labour Code.

In the decision of the 13rst January 2009 (n°06-46.208 P+B+R), of the Social Chamber of the French Supreme Court, in its ratio decidendi, reminds this definition of the senior executive.

Indeed, the Court states that « are considered as senior executives, executives to whom are entrusted responsibilities whose the importance involved a great independence in their timetable organisation, who are authorized to take decisions in a widely autonomous way, and who received a wage situated at the highest level of the wage systems practiced in their enterprise or establishment ».

The Supreme Court reminds that those criterions are cumulative.

Finally, the French Supreme Court states that « the judge has to check clearly the real employment conditions of the concerned employee, no matters if the applicable collective agreement deducts the position of senior executive regarding to the function holding by the employee ».

In this case, the judges should have to check if the real employment conditions of the employee justified the senior executive qualification, before rejecting a request for payment of RTT (reduce of working time) compensation.

When the judges rule cases opposing an employer and a senior executive, they have to check exactly the conditions of the article L.3111-2 of the French Labour Code which are cumulative. They cannot be linked with the terms of a collective agreement.

As a conclusion, none can be senior executive at will, the conditions have first to be fulfilled.

Frédéric CHHUM Avocat à la Cour

Anissa YEFTENE

www.chhum-avocats.com

Par frederic.chhum le 06/11/09

Employers (French company) have to insure all their secondee abroad and French expatriate workers against the unemployment risk (article L. 5422-13 of the French Employment Code).

In this respect, employers situated in France which sent on secondment (“detache”) or expatriate their workers abroad must pay contributions to the French unemployment insurance (ASSEDIC) for those workers.

Moreover, the Paris Court of appeal, in the decision of March 18th, 1993, C. Cournac c/ Société Altshom International, conferred to this principle the character of an overriding mandatory provision. The Court judged that every company which has its registered office in France must affiliate to the unemployment insurance every detached worker and every French worker expatriated.

Exceptions are foreseen at the article L. 5424-1 of the French Employment Code (employers who are in charge themselves of the service charges and management of the unemployment benefit (officers of the State and territorial authorities' public service, non statutory workers of the craft chamber, trade and industrial chambers and farmers' chamber and France Telecom's civil servants).

This obligation of affiliation to the unemployment insurance of the secondees and French expatriated workers of French companies does not have to be forgotten by the human resources managers.

Frédéric CHHUM Avocat à la Cour

Anissa YEFTENE

chhum@chhum-avocats.com

www.chhum-avocats.com