France: Employees Made Redundant Must be Informed of the Grounds For Redundancy (August 2010)

Last Updated: 18 August 2010
Article by Christopher Ivey

Employees made redundant must be informed of the grounds for redundancy at the latest by the date they accept the CRP (14 April 2010 n° 08-45.399 and 09-40.987)

The State-run CRP (convention de reclassement personnalisée) redeployment programme must be proposed to employees at risk of redundancy in particular in businesses of less than 1,000 employees, either during their preliminary meeting, or in procedures where no preliminary meeting is required, following on from the final employee representative meeting.

The employee then has 21 days in which to accept or refuse the scheme, acceptance resulting in their employment contract being terminated immediately at the end of the 21-day period, through a mutual agreement. The Cour de cassation has previously held that this mutual agreement does not prevent the employee from challenging the grounds on which the employer considered their redundancy (5 March 2008, n° 07-41.964), and it is therefore important to draft detailed grounds explaining the justification for considering their redundancy. Indeed, as with a termination letter, the grounds referred to are considered as the basis of a case for unfair dismissal, and must be provided in writing (27 May 2009, n° 08-43.137).

Until recently, these written grounds could be sent subsequent to the employee's acceptance, acknowledging this and the termination of their employment through the CRP scheme, and informing them of the economic justification that would have been applied. However, in two decisions dated 14 April 2010 (n° 08-45.399 and 09-40.987), the Cour de cassation held that the employee must be informed of the grounds for termination in writing, at the latest by the time they accept the CRP.

This deadline should be distinguished from the end of the 21-day acceptance period, as the employee can accept the CRP scheme as soon as it is offered to them (even so the employment contract will only be terminated at the end of the 21-day period). This was a point of contention in the above cases, as the Attorney General considered that, in line with the procedure for standard terminations, the grounds for termination should be presented to the employee by the actual date of termination, which would correspond to the end of the 21-day period. However, the Cour de cassation overruled this and held that the employee must be informed before accepting the scheme.

In order to take this new case law into account, we recommend providing the employee with details of the economic grounds referred to during the preliminary meeting or in the memorandum provided to employee representatives, at the same time as the CRP documents. However, in doing so, it is important to bear in mind the fact that the employer is not entitled to take its decision to terminate for a certain period of time after the preliminary meeting (7 or 15 days). The grounds provided to the employee at this early stage are therefore be those on which the redundancy is "envisaged".

Bullying does not need to be long term to constitute harassment (26 May 2010 n° 08-43.152)

The Labour Code and previous court decisions highlighted the fact that the actions considered as bullying must be repeated in order to constitute harassment, and it was on this basis that the Court of appeal in the present case held that while the employee was demoted and sidelined following a long term sick leave, and threatened and insulted after a second period returning to work, these events took place over a relatively short period (of approximately one month), insufficient, bearing in mind the period of sick leave, to characterise harassment through bullying.

The Cour de cassation overturned this decision on 26 May 2010 (n° 08-43.152), holding that actions can constitute bullying even though only over a brief period. It is important to note that the Labour Code still requires bullying to be repeated, over a sufficient period to have the effect of damaging employment conditions, infringing the employee's rights, dignity, mental or physical health, or compromising the employee's future career. However, as a result of this case, it is clear that the repetition does not need to occur over a particularly long period.

Law on conditions for the redeployment of employees at risk of redundancy (Law n° 2010-499 of 18 May 2010)

French case law has defined a principle whereby if considering terminating employees on economic grounds, the employer must search for and propose to employees any appropriate redeployment opportunities within the company and the group to which the company belongs. This has led to what some claim as "unreasonable" proposals, for redeployment to countries where wages are typically significantly lower than in France.

In an attempt to limit such issues, a law was passed on 18 May 2010 defining the procedure and conditions to be respected in the event that a company offers redeployment abroad to employees at risk of redundancy.

It should be noted that this law only governs redeployment abroad. Any redeployment opportunities in France must be proposed to the relevant employees in any case.

This law has incorporated a new article (L. 1233-4-1) into the Labour Code, providing for a specific redeployment procedure for companies or groups with entities outside France, as follows:

  1. The employer must ask the employee prior to termination, whether they would accept to receive redeployment offers outside France, referring to each of the potential locations for redeployment, and ask if the employee has any specific minimum terms in particular in relation to remuneration and location.
  2. The employee must respond to this request stating any specific restrictions, within 6 days of the employer's request. Failure to respond is considered as a refusal of any potential redeployment offers abroad.
  3. The employer must only present such redeployment offers abroad to the employees who have accepted to receive them, such offers taking into account the employee's specific restrictions.
  4. The employee is free to refuse such offers.
  5. If an employee accepts to receive redeployment offers abroad, but none correspond to the conditions set out by the employee at the relevant time, the employee must be informed of this.

In addition, the law has redrafted the terms of Article L. 1233-4 of the Labour Code to include a reference to the remuneration to be offered in relation to such redeployment. However, while it was envisaged to stipulate that the remuneration offered must be "decent, compatible with salaries generally applied in the employee's skills sector, even for a position abroad", the legislation actually only specifies that the remuneration must be "equivalent", without further details. This would seem to leave the matter open for discussion as to what is considered as an "equivalent" salary. Faced with this risk of uncertainty, employers should ensure that the redeployment questionnaire restricts the scope of potential claims by strictly defining the level of remuneration that the employee considers acceptable.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions