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When an employer decides to terminate an employment contract with an employee, French law strictly covers the conditions and procedure of such termination. If these reasons are not real, the employer may face a legal procedure before the Conseil des Prud’hommes, the French Employment Court. 

The termination of an employment contract is therefore so tricky that an employer should always retain the legal services of a lawyer beforehand. 

The French dismissal procedure involves several stages, which must be respected to avoid any error or omission that could lead to a substantial financial indemnity. The key stages of the dismissal procedure are:

  1. Inviting the employee to a preliminary interview.

The employer shall invite the employee to an interview prior to deciding whether he will dismiss the employer. For such procedure, the employer will have to respect a minimum period of 5 working days between the date of delivery of the invitation and the date of the interview. 

This invitation shall be sent by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt or delivered by hand against receipt. It must specify the date, time and place of the interview, as well as the reason of the interview..

  1. the interview – l’entretien préalable.

The preliminary interview must be held in the presence of the employee, his representative if the employee has designated one, and an advisor of the employee if he requests one. The employer must explain the reasons for the dismissal and collect the employee’s explanations. A report of the interview must be drawn up and given to the employee.

  1. Notification of dismissal.

The employer can notify the dismissal by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt or hand delivery against discharge. This notification must mention the reasons for dismissal, the date of the end of the contract, list the various employee’s rights.

Consequently, French Employment law can be very challenging when it comes to terminate an employment contract. 

To avoid mistakes and the mitigate the financial risk of a litigation, it is recommended to seek legal assistance with a French employment lawyer, who will the employer throughout the procedure. 

By avoiding the most common errors, employers can guarantee respect for the rights of employees, while preserving their interests and their activity.

Your lawyer will assist you mainly for the following area:

1/ establishing a real and serious cause for dismissal in compliance with French law

Dismissing an employee without real and serious cause is an error that can have serious consequences for the employer. To avoid this mistake, hiring a lawyer specializing in  employment law will help you through the process and reduce the legal liability risks of an absence of real and serious cause. All the facts will therefore be cross checked with  your lawyer and discussed in order to define whether all the conditions are fulfilled to terminate the employment contrat. 

2/ Carefully following the legal dismissal procedure provided for by the French Employment Code.

Failure to comply with the dismissal procedure is a common error, which can lead to the cancellation of the dismissal and the reinstatement of the employee in the company. In order to avoid this kind of mistake, your lawyer will advise and support the employer throughout the process. The lawyer will also be able to verify that the procedure complies with the French Employment Code and make sure that all deadlines and formalities are respected.

3/ The notification procedure of the termination of the contract to the employee by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt.

Failure to notify the employee of his dismissal may result in the cancelation of the termination  which means that the employer can be ordered to pay compensation. Your  lawyer can draft and send the dismissal letter, respecting the deadlines and forms provided for by the French Employment Code.

4/ the legal rules relating to compensation

Failure to comply with the legal rules of termination may result in financial penalties to be paid by the employer. To limit any risk, it is highly recommended to request an employment lawyer to check the rules in force and ensure that all compensation due is correctly calculated and paid to the employee concerned. The lawyer can also advise on payment terms and possible negotiations with the employee.

5/ Requesting an employment lawyer for advice and assistance.

Finally, to avoid any mistake or reduce the risks of litigation when terminating an employment contract, it is recommended to require the legal assistance of Employment lawyer. 

We will be able to support the employer throughout the procedure, verify that all rules are respected and assist on possible negotiations with the employee, in order to guarantee a fair and equitable dismissal procedure for all parties.

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