The so-called ‘Macron ordinances’ overhauled the Labour Code in September 2017. One of the main effects was the introduction of a schedule of damages in French labour law, whereby a judge can award damages for unfair dismissal (ie, dismissal without a serious ground) only within certain limitations depending on the employee’s seniority. This is a revolutionary change as it means that judges lose their power to freely assess the harm suffered following an unfair dismissal.
While some lower courts have applied the new law, an increasing number of courts are challenging it on the basis that, in particular, it would be contrary to the provisions of the International Labour Organisation (eg, Convention 158, Termination of Employment Convention 1982) and the Council of Europe (eg, Article 24 of the European Social Charter).
The first rulings by the courts of appeal are expected to happen in Summer 2019. The French Supreme Court has been asked for its advice, which it is free not to provide at this stage.