Article L 1152-1 of the French Labour Code (the Code) defines moral harassment as ‘repeated acts having as their object or effect a deterioration of an employee’s working conditions likely to (i) infringe his rights or dignity, (ii) alter his physical or mental health, or (iii) compromise his promotion’. Moreover, article L 1152-2 of the same Code specifies that the harasser may be sentenced to one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to €15,000 if found guilty of a breach of the Code. The harasser may also be ordered to indemnify the victim for the damages suffered.
In the recent decision dated 26 May 2010 (FSC, 26 May 2010, No. 08-43152, FP, Autocasse Bouvier c/ Lantillon et a.), the French Supreme Court ruled on the concept of moral harassment, and on time periods in particular. The Supreme Court decided to overrule the decision from the Court of Appeal, which considered that the alleged facts took place in too short a period to meet the qualification of moral harassment. The Supreme Court indicated that (despite the repetitive nature of the act) a moral harassment situation can take place within a short period.