🇫🇷 Terminations Overview in France

Henning Wandsleb
Henning Wandsleb
  • Updated

Oyster policy is denoted in purple.

Customers who wish to explore termination of employment must contact Oyster.


Indefinite Term Contracts

The French Labor Code allows an indefinite-term employment contract to be terminated by the employer (Oyster), the employee, or by mutual agreement.

During the probation period, either party can terminate the employment contract in compliance with notice periods set out in the Labor Code and/or applicable Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs). No grounds need to be given to team members to terminate employment during the probation period; however, the reasons for termination must be linked to the team member’s work performance, and cannot be based on any discriminatory ground, or made to avoid a redundancy

However, after the probation period has ended, employers can’t unilaterally terminate indefinite employment contracts without cause. Termination by the employer must always be based on real and serious grounds.

Employees may resign from their jobs at any time, but they must serve a notice period.See Resignation Notice for more information. 

Indefinite-term employment contracts can legally be terminated including for: 

  • Justified personal reasons related to the employee;
  • Justified economic reasons;
  • Retirement;
  • Unforeseeable circumstances (force majeure); and
  • Mutual agreement.

Personal grounds for termination of employment must be based on the behavior or actions of the employee, such as misconduct or insufficient performance at work.  The termination must be based on “objective, verifiable facts and not on a subjective impression or judgment” and be “serious enough to make dismissal inevitable.” Termination is also possible when an employee is declared unfit to work.

Economic grounds for termination of employment are situations where the position is eliminated or changed to such an extent that it is unrecognizable due to an economic reason (among the limited list of accepted reasons in the Labor Code).[Insert reviewed Mindcrest information]

Employees in France may also be terminated for economic reasons via collective dismissal. The collective dismissal procedure depends on the number of employees that will be dismissed.[Insert reviewed Mindcrest information]

For more information see Grounds for Termination, Termination Process, Notice by Employer and Resignation Notice

Employees protected from Dismissal

All employees in France are governed by the termination laws under the Labor Code. However, certain classes of employees are protected from termination. For example:

  • Employees who serve as a staff representative can’t be dismissed without authorization from the labor inspector.
  • Except in certain circumstances, employers can’t terminate a pregnant employee, an employee on maternity or paternity leave, or for 10 weeks after the leave ends.
  • Employers can’t terminate an employee who refuses relocation to a country in which homosexuality is illegal, because of the employee’s sexual orientation.
  • Employers can’t terminate an employee for exercising their right to strike.
  • Oyster's CBA provides for a guarantee of continued employment during sick leave (for a limited period of time).

Additionally, other classes of employees are also given special protections from termination. Protected classes of employees include employees targeted because of their:

  • Gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation; 
  • Age;
  • Genetic characteristics;
  • Race or ethnicity;
  • Political opinions; or
  • Union activities.

Employers & employees cannot agree to bypass termination rules and protection provided by the Labor Code (e.g. in a clause in the employment agreement).



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