The right to strike is the pet peeve of French employers… and for good reasons. France is the champion of strike actions: between 2005 and 2014, it lost between six and eight times more working days than the United Kingdom or Germany; in 2016 it experienced no less than 801 strikes.
The right to strike is a fundamental right but it is also a subject of controversy and conflict, particularly on the thorny issue of so-called “abusive” strikes. Paragraph 7 of the 1946 Preamble states that “the right to strike shall be exercised within the framework of the laws governing it”. However, there is no framework law regulating it, but rather scattered laws governing specific sectors such as the public sector, air transport, and the case law of the Cour de Cassation (French Supreme Court). This may explain why companies established in France often express their feeling of legal uncertainty on the strike issue. How to define and where to draw the borderline of abuse? Is a political strike without professional claims lawful in France? What means of action does the employer have at its disposal in the event of a blockage of its company? What means of action not only with regard to striking employees but also to safeguard the interests of its company?
On April 15, the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (French Data Protection authority, hereinafter the “CNIL”) presented its 2018 activity report, i.e. the assessment that it draws from its activities during the year 2018 which has been marked by the application of the General Data Protection Regulation and the new French Data Protection Act.
From the CNIL's assessment and the decisions it took in 2018, we can learn lessons to prevent the risks incurred when processing personal data.
Article 17 of the Law for the balance of trade relationships in the agricultural and food industry of October 30, 2018 (known as the “EGalim” Law) authorized the French Government to recast by means of an ordinance Title IV of Book IV of the French Commercial Code on transparency, practices that restrict competition and other prohibited practices. This has now been done with the publication of Ordinance No. 2019-359 of April 24, 2019.
The objective pursued by the legislator is to make the rules governing business relationships, practices that restrict competition and prohibited practices easier to understand and more transparent, and to ensure greater legal certainty.
Law n°2019-486 of May 22, 2019 on business growth and transformation, known as the “PACTE” Law, aims at “improving and diversifying business financing methods”. It is in this context that various measures have been taken to clarify and modernize the rules governing preferred shares.
On May 17, 2017, Directive 2017/828 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2007/36/EC as regards the encouragement of long-term shareholder engagement in listed companies was adopted.
This revision of Directive 2007/36/EC aims to change practices brought about by the 2008 financial crisis, which, by promoting short-term yields, lead to sub-optimal corporate governance and performance.
In a decision dated February 13, 2019, the Cour de cassation (French Supreme Court) confirmed that a jurisdiction clause stipulated in connection with a sale agreement and included in the general terms of sale may extend to tort disputes likely to arise between the parties.
In two decisions issued on the same day, the Commercial Chamber of the Cour de Cassation (French Supreme Court) provided two illustrations of situations in which it can dismiss a claim for sudden breach of an established business relationship.
These two decisions are worth noting in a case law landscape where this concept defined by Article L. 442-6 I 5e of the French Commercial Code and relied upon on a recurrent basis before the courts, frequently results in a judgment being entered against the breaching party.
The Ministry of Justice has not remained inactive in the face of judges' resistance to the Macron scale. By a circular dated February 26, 2019, the Ministry of Justice requested Public Prosecutors at the Courts of Appeal to inform it of any and all decisions rendered regarding the incompatibility of the Macron scale with international conventions.
In a recent decision, the Commercial Chamber of the Cour de Cassation (French Supreme Court) has qualified the conditions for the application of disparagement by incorporating the right to freedom of expression in its reasoning.
This case-law development is not neutral for economic players likely to be confronted with situations of disparagement in the conduct of their business operations, particularly in case of unfair competition disputes.
This decision provides an opportunity to revisit the notion of disparagement and its application by French courts in recent years.
Message received loud and clear by the Paris Court of Appeals!
In line with the highly noted decision issued on November 28, 2018 by the Labor Chamber of the Cour de Cassation (French Supreme court) which, as we commented in December 2018, sent a strong signal to the lower courts by recognizing the reclassification of the agreement between a deliverer and a digital platform as an employment contract, the Paris Court of Appeals held for the first time that the contract binding Uber to one of its drivers ought to be analyzed as an employment contract.
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