international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

France: Dismissal of an Employee for Making Racist or Xenophobic Comments in a Private Context is Deemed Unfair

An employee was dismissed for serious misconduct for having sent an email from her professional email account to other employees.

The French Supreme Court ruled that the employer had not expressly indicated in the dismissal letter that this behavior had had an impact on her relationship with her colleagues or business partners or that it had impacted the company’s reputation. In addition, the Court ruled that there was no evidence that these comments had been disclosed beyond the small private circle of work colleagues.

The fact that the employee had used her professional email account was not deemed pertinent, as limited personal use is tolerated.

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-House Counsel

Ensure that you have adopted an IT policy that clearly sets out the rules with regard to the use of company-owned IT tools.