Confédération Générale du Travail Force Ouvrière (CGT-FO) v. France
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Judgement date :26/09/2022
In their complaints, the complainant organisations, CGT-FO and CGT, asked the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) to find that the reforms made to the French Labour Code (code du travail), introduced by Order No. 2017-1387 of 22 September 2017, violate Article 24 (the right to protection in cases of termination of employment) of the revised European Social Charter (the Charter) on the ground that they lay down an upper limit on the amount of compensation paid to the worker in the event of dismissal without valid reasons.
The complainant organisations asserted that this means that victims of unjustified dismissals are unable to obtain through the domestic courts compensation that is adequate in relation to the damage incurred and dissuasive for the employers, and that the reform fails to guarantee a right to an effective remedy against the unlawful dismissal.
The ECSR concluded unanimously that there is a violation of Article 24.b of the Charter.
In its assessment, the ECSR focused on whether Article L.1235-3 of the Labour Code satisfied the requirement of compensation, which is considered adequate where it is of a high enough level to dissuade the employer and make good the damage suffered by the victim (Finnish Society of Social Rights v. Finland, Complaint No. 106/2014, decision on admissibility and the merits of 8 September 2016, §45; Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro CGIL v, Italy, Complaint No. 158/2017, decision on the merits of 11 September 2019, §87).
The ECSR concluded that the ceilings set by Article L.1235-3 of the Labour Code are not sufficiently high to make good the damage suffered by the victim and be dissuasive for the employer. Moreover, the ECSR noted that courts have a narrow margin of manoever in deciding the case on its merits by considering individual circumstances of unjustified dismissals. For this reason, the real damage suffered by the worker in question linked to the individual characteristics of the case may be neglected and therefore, not be made good. In addition, other legal avenues are limited to certain cases.
The ECSR considers therefore that the right to adequate compensation or other appropriate relief within the meaning of Article 24.b of the Charter is not guaranteed. Therefore, there is a violation of Article 24.b of the Charter.
The full text of the complaints and the decision on the merits can be found here and attached below.