Recent case law | Employment Guarantees in CBA’s

Published on : 12/02/2020 12 February Feb 02 2020

In a recent case, the French Supreme Court had to rule on the scope of application of an “employment guarantee” of a collective bargaining agreement.
In the matter at hand, a medical secretary was dismissed from her position due to prolonged sick leave that, it was argued, caused a significant disorganization for her employer.
The applicable collective bargaining agreement provided for an “employment guarantee” in case of prolonged sickness, that forbids dismissal for the first entire year of absence.
The court of appeals upheld the dismissal on the grounds that it was justified because its motivation lay not in the sickness itself, but rather, by the consequences for the employer’s organization that required a replacement employee.
The French supreme court struck down the court of appeals’ ruling on the basis that  when a collective bargaining agreement provides for guaranteed employment of one year, an employee cannot be dismissed for the consequences her absences entails after one month.
This ruling reinforces the strength of such employment guarantees that are already a reinforcement of the legal protections that shelter employees from termination for health reasons. Up to now, there had been few judicial decisions on the matter.
Nevertheless, the Supreme Court’s decision serves as a reminder to all employers in France of the importance of special rules set out in collective bargaining agreements that apply in addition to the provisions of the French labour code.

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