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Air France not liable for employee witnessing September 11

The French employer has to take all appropriate measures in order to ensure its employees’ physical and mental health.

So far, the French Supreme Court had considered that this obligation was absolute. As a result, most of the time, the employer was found liable in case of damage regardless of the preventive actions taken.

On 25 November 2015, the French Supreme Court softened its position: the employer complies with its obligation when it takes all the reasonably necessary preventive measures. (French Supreme Court 25 November 2015 n°14-24444)

This case was about an employee of Air France who witnessed the September 11 attacks and claimed he was suffering, in 2006, from an anxio-depressive syndrome. However, upon his return from New-York in 2001, the employer had taken all the reasonably necessary measures to protect his health.

We will watch closely the evolution of the French Supreme Court’s case law on that topic.