Women and Justice: Court: Cour de Cassation, chambre sociale

Domestic Case Law

Cour de cassation, N. de pourvoi: 02-44904, 2004 Cour de Cassation, chambre sociale (2004)

Gender discrimination

Contract of employment – dismissal – sexist and racist remarks – real and serious cause. Mr. X, employed as a chef by the company “Pavillion Montsouris”, was dismissed by a letter dated 4 June 1999 for gross negligence following several instances of alleged sexist and racist remarks made at the workplace towards several members of staff. The Court of Appeal of Paris dismissed the case, interpreting the comments made by Mr. X as “out of place” and “of bad taste” but not serious enough to warrant his dismissal. The Court of Cassation rejected this decision, reaffirming that Mr. X’s actions were nonetheless very serious and real (although this was not considered to amount to gross negligence, which only applies if there is an intention to harm towards an employer and cannot be applied between co-workers). The court confirmed that the severity of Mr. X’s sexist and racist comments were such that his dismissal was justified. This case marks the courts’ rejection of the trivialization of serious sexist and racist remarks towards female employees at the workplace.

M. X a été démis de son travail suivant plusieurs allegations d’instances de commentaires sexists et racists qu’il a fait dans son milieu de travail envers plusieurs collègues. La cour d’appel de Paris a rejeté l’affaire, trouvant les commentaires simplement hors de propos et de mauvais goût mais pas aussi sérieux pour justifier son démis. Par la suite, la cour de cassation a rejeté cette decision, affirmant que les actions de M. X ont étés très sérieux (mais pas au niveau de negligence grave, ce qui est seulement applicable s’il existe l’intention de faire mal à un employeur, mais pas à un collègue. La cour a confirmé que la sévèrité des commentaires de M. X envers les employés femelles dans le milieu de travail étaient tells que son démis était justifié.