(CE, 20 March 2009, n°312258): In order for the employer to dismiss a protected employee (i.e. an employee representative or similar), authorisation must be obtained from the Labour Administration. The Conseil d'Etat has confirmed that such authorisation is validly refused if the specific termination procedure, in particular the timing requirements of a minimum of 5 working days between the presentation of the invitation to preliminary meeting and the meeting itself, are not respected.
Failure to obtain authorisation from the Labour Administration to terminate a protected employee will prevent the termination from being applicable, and the employee will remain on the company's payroll. In the case of un-protected employees, while the same procedural timing requirements apply, the failure to respect these has less severe consequences as it will simply result in a potential damages claim rather than cancellation of the termination itself.