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Obligation for the employer to seek clarification from the labour physician when his opinion is subject to interpretation

French Supreme Court, July 10, 2019, n° 18-15.081

In this case, a labour physician had declared an employee unfit for her position and fit for a similar position “in a different working environment”.

The employee had refused the two redeployment offers made by the employer, on the grounds that they were not consistent with the labour physician’s opinion since they belonged to the same professional environment.

The French Supreme Court ruled that the employer had not carried out a serious redeployment search since he had not questioned the labour physician to obtain clarification on the concept of “different working environment” in order to ascertain whether it was necessary to deduce from it that the employee’s health was inconsistent with the performance of any professional activity within the notary office or on the Company, if it was required to consider adapting her position.

The Court concludes that the dismissal based on the impossibility to redeploy the employee as a result of medical unfitness had no real and serious cause.