The Social Chamber of the French Supreme Court has just handed down an important decision for French employers in the case of Viveo. In doing so it overturned the Paris Court of Appeal which controversially ruled in May 2011 that if the economic reasoning relied on by an employer to justify proposed collective redundancies was not valid then the subsequent redundancies were also null and void. The Reims Court of Appeal had earlier given a similar ruling.
Fortunately for employers, the Supreme Court held on May 3rd 2012 that redundancies will only be null and void if there are no (or no adequate) redeployment measures contained in the Safeguard of Employment Plan, and not for the want of an “economic motive” objectively justifying the redundancies. This judgment is in line with the French Labour Code which only provides for a collective redundancy procedure to be cancelled if no redeployment plan (“plan de reclassement”) in the Safeguard of Employment Plan is presented by the employer to the employee representatives, who must then meet and be informed and consulted with about it.
In troubled economic times, this decision comes as a great relief to employers in France.