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Subordination link: determining factor for benefiting from the employee status

In a decision of 16 January 2019 (No. 17-12479), the Court of Cassation had to rule on the status as an employee of the claimant, who was also the sole shareholder of the company.

The Court of Appeal has dismissed the claimant’s requests for payment of salary and damages, considering that he was not an employee. The claimant then appealed the decision, arguing that the qualities of shareholder and employee are not incompatible as soon as proof of a “subordinate employment relationship” is provided.

It is indeed this subordinate relationship that the French Supreme Court assessed before considering that the claimant’s employment contract was fictitious. It thus rules that the claimant had the power to dismiss the managing director of the company, an office he had previously held.

The French Supreme Court concluded that the claimant “had no subordination link with the company” and could therefore not benefit from the employee status.