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No payment in lieu of notice in the event of gross misconduct unless the employment contract is more favourable

In principle, where an employee is dismissed for gross misconduct, he is not entitled to payment in lieu of notice (Art. L. 1234-1 of the French Labour Code).

However, in a recent decision, the French Supreme Court clarified that this rule only applies in the absence of a more favourable provision in the employment contract.

In this particular case, the employment contract provided for a notice period in the event of termination of the contract by either party, without making distinction between the potential grounds for termination.

From a practical perspective, this means that, unless there is no reference to the notice period in the employment contract or a mere reference to the governing legal or collective bargaining agreement provisions,  it will now be necessary to specify in the employment contract that the notice in the case of termination will not apply in the event of dismissal for gross negligence or willful misconduct.

French Supreme Court, 20 March 2019, n° 17-26.999