Answer ... The employment tribunals (Conseils de Prud'hommes) have jurisdiction to hear any dispute that arises between the employer and employee during the employment relationship or relating to termination of the employment contract. Conversely, the employment tribunals do not have jurisdiction to adjudicate disputes relating to collective labour relationships, which fall under the competence of the first instance court.
For an action to be admissible, it must be brought before the employment tribunal within a specific timeframe, which varies according to the nature of the dispute. If the applicable timeframe is not observed, the action is time barred.
Once the action is brought before the employment tribunal, the parties will first appear before a conciliation and referral board (CRB) and then, if conciliation fails, before a judgment board.
Answer ... Proceedings before the employment tribunal may be initiated either by voluntary presentation of the parties before the CRB or by a motion addressed to the clerk of the employment tribunal (containing, in particular, information deemed mandatory on pain of invalidity, a summary statement of the grounds on which the motion is based and the various heads of claim), together with the documents that the plaintiff wishes to invoke in support of those claims and a statement listing such documents.
The procedure involves two phases: a conciliation phase and a judgment phase. Except in certain limited cases, the conciliation phase is a mandatory prerequisite. In the absence of a conciliation phase, the proceedings may be automatically invalid. In principle, the hearing before the CRB is not public. If conciliation fails, the CRB may refer the case to the judgment board.
Generally, the timeframe of first-instance proceedings is between six and 12 months.
After a first-instance decision has been issued, the case may go to the appellate court and then to the Court of Cassation (French Supreme Court). If a case proceeds through all instances of appeal, it may take nearly 10 years to resolve.