The French Court of Cassation safeguarded the employees’ rights in the event of transfers of undertakings

Cour de cassation, civile, Chambre sociale, 11 mars 2016, 14-22.211, Inédit

The present case concerned the rules relating to the safeguarding of employees’ rights in the event of transfers of undertakings.The company RPVI had a workshop which was located on a site belonging to the company Rhodia for which it provided maintenance work.

X, Z. Y. were assigned to this activity as employees of the company RPVI. However, the company Rhodia terminated its contractual relations with the company RPVI which left the facility. Subsequently, the company Atlantic Maintenance acquired from the company RPVI the buildings used by it as a workshop and office and a set of equipment and tools.

On that occasion, the employees who did not receive their salaries, lodged a claim before the labour court seeking termination of their employment contract.
The Court of Appeal of Poitiers (Cour d‘appel de Poitiers) declared the legal termination of the employment contracts and ordered the company Atlantic Maintenance to pay the employees the sums due as salary, severance pay and damages.
Thereafter, the company Atlantic Maintenance lodged an appeal before the Court of Cassation (Cour de cassation).

The Court of Cassation noted that the Court of Appeal of Poitiers held that the company RPVI had on the site belonging to the company Rhodia a staff assigned to maintenance services as well as a building and a material intended specifically for this activity.
Thus, this activity had been pursued by the company Atlantic Maintenance and for which it used the material it had acquired from the company RPVI.

For these reasons, the Court of Cassation found that the Court of Appeal of Poitiers was able to deduce the transfer of an autonomous economic entity, maintaining its identity and pursuing the same activity.

Consequently, the Court of Cassation rejected the appeal of the company Atlantic Maintenance.

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