Absence of a single risk assessment document: the employee must demonstrate his/her loss to obtain damages

French Supreme Court, September 25, 2019, n° 17-22.224

An employee claimed damages on the basis of his employer’s failure to draw and issue the single occupational risk assessment document.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the employee’s claim on the grounds that he did not demonstrate any loss resulting from such failure.

The employee appealed against this decision before the French Supreme Court.

The employee argued that the employer’s failure to set up the single risk assessment document characterized a breach of the employer’s safety obligation and would necessarily cause him some harm that must be remedied by the award of damages.

The French Supreme Court dismissed the employee’s appeal on the grounds that he did not demonstrate any harm resulting from the failure to implement this document. The French Supreme Court then confirms once again the end of the “automatic” (or “necessary”) harm case law (French Supreme Court, 13 April 2016 n° 14-28.293).

Note that the absence of the single risk assessment document or the absence of any update of this document exposes the employer to a fine of €1,500.