The Cour de Cassation (French Supreme Court) recently ruled that an employer can produce in court elements extracted from an employee’s private Facebook account, to which it was not authorized to access, as long as (i) this production is indispensable to the exercise of its right to evidence, and (ii) the violation of the employee’s privacy is proportionate to the goal pursued.
Does an employer who dismisses for serious misconduct an employee working as security consultant for a company providing security and defense services to governments, international non-governmental organizations or private companies, accusing him of wearing a beard that is “trimmed in a way that is intentionally meaningful in both religious and political terms”, infringe said employee’s freedom of religion?
The Cour de Cassation (French Supreme Court) was asked to address this issue and has expanded existing case-law in this area, by issuing on July 8, 2020 a ruling on the fundamental rights and freedoms of employees in the workplace. The Labor Chamber of the Cour de Cassation specifically considered that dismissal for serious misconduct based on such a ground was discriminatory.
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