July 23, 2024

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Variable Remuneration: There is no purpose in English even though it is the language used in the organization

Variable Remuneration: There is no purpose in English even though it is the language used in the organization

When to write a professional document in a foreign language?

According to the Labor Code, any document containing terms that require knowledge of the duties of the employee or the performance of their work must be written in French.

However, this rule does not apply Documents received from abroad or for foreigners (C. Trav. Art. L. 1321-6), WHO Can be written in a language other than French.

Thus, an employer may send a differential wage proposal written in English to a US citizen employee (Cas. Soc. June 24, 2015, no. 14-13829, BC V n° 128). On the other hand, the international nature of the company's activity does not approve of communicating objectives only in English (cass. soc. May 3, 2018, no. 16-13736 D).

In the case commented here, an employee, a pre-sales project manager of an international IT solutions company, took legal action, specifically criticizing his employer for setting out his differential pay calculation objectives in English. The employee held that these objectives did not bind him and sought reinstatement on variable pay.

The Court of Appeal rejected his claim, noting that English was the language used within the company and that it was a subsidiary of an American company.

Are there sufficient elements to make an exception to the use of the French language?

The use of English within the organization does not allow addressing the objectives written in English

The Court of Cassation answers in the negative.

He recalled that it was only possible to use a language other than French if the documents were received from abroad or were intended for foreigners.

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The Court of Cassation does not recognize other exceptions and applies the law strictly.

Recently, he pointed it out English as the working language within the organization cannot be an exception to the use of French (Cas. soc. June 7, 2023, no. 21-20322 D).

The Court of Cassation here reaffirms this solution.

In this case, the employee was not a foreigner, and the Court of Appeal did not find that the documents setting out the employee's intentions were obtained from abroad.

Therefore, an appellate court cannot reject an employee's claim based solely on the fact that English is the language used in the company and that the company is a subsidiary of a US company.