Dismissal of French Employees

Dismissal of French Employees

Updated on Monday 18th April 2016

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The French employment law stipulates that any dismissal of French employees must be justified and has a real and serious cause. Usually, dismissals are made for the following reasons: personal and economic.

Employment contracts in France

In France there are several types of contracts than can be concluded between an employer and an employee:
- the fixed-term employment contract (Contract Duration Determinée) can be concluded for a limited amount of time, but no longer than one year and it can be renewed only once (for a limited time of six months);
- the indefinite-term employment contract: does not have a limited duration and it may be terminated only if the employer is able to justify the dismissal.
Regardless of the type of contract, the employee has various rights and the French Constitution prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, race, language, religion, political views or personal and social conditions.

Dismissals for personal reasons in France

Personal or professional reasons to dismiss employees in France usually include poor performance from the employee, negligence or the employee’s inability to work.
Women that are on a maternity leave cannot be dismissed during this time. During pregnancy and for a period of one month after the end of the maternity leave, women can be dismissed only if it is impossible for them to maintain the employment contract.
If an employer decides to dismiss an employee because of personal reasons, the dismissal letter must provide a valid justification for this decision.

Dismissals for economic reasons in France

The French Labor Code stipulates that a dismissal can be made for economic reasons only if it is based on a reason unrelated to the employee. It can be the result of economic difficulties of technical changes in the company. Dismissals for economic reasons can be individual or collective. Collective economic dismissals can concern two to nine employees or at least ten employees.
The French Labor Law stipulates that both parties must issue a notice of termination of the employment contract. During the notice period, the employment contract remains in force. Notice periods can be one or two months long, depending on the seniority of the employee.
Business owners in France may choose to employ the services of a French law firm to manage the relationship between them and their employees. Our French lawyers can help you with detailed information and a personalized offer detailing all of our available legal services in France.