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The employee may claim for constructive dismissal without prior formal notice

In a response to a request for an opinion from the Nantes Labour Court, the French Supreme Court had to rule on whether the provisions of the French Civil Code apply to the termination of employment contracts (Opinion of 3 April 2019, No. 15003).

Article 1226 of the French Civil Code indeed requires that, except in cases of emergency, the creditor “gives notice to the defaulting debtor to fulfil his commitment within a reasonable time“. In the context of an employment contract, the question therefore arises as to whether an employee who considers that his employer is not complying with his obligations must give him formal notice before he can claim the constructive dismissal of his employment contract.

The French Supreme Court’s response is negative. It considers that the “types of termination of the employment contract, at the initiative of the employer or the employee, are governed by special rules and have specific consequences, so that the provisions of Article 1226 of the French Civil Code do not apply to them.”