Definition of collective dismissal (number of employees concerned):
The labour code defines economic dismissal but not collective dismissals.
However, the LC contains specific sections on the legal requirements applicable to economic dismissal concerning:
1) less than 10 employees over a 30-day period;
2) 10 or more employees over a 30-day period.
See: art. L 1233-3 LC, art. L 1233-8 LC, art. L 1233-21 LC
NB: Special additional category: dismissals following bankruptcy: art. L 1233-58 LC.
Prior consultations with trade unions (workers' representatives):
* Dismissals concerning less than 10 employees over a 30 day period: art. L 1233-8 to L 1233-10.
* Dismissals concerning 10 or more employees over a 30 day period: art. L 1233-28 to L 1233-33 LC.
(Criminal penalties for failure to observe those requirements: art. L1238-2 LC)
Notification to the public administration:
* Less than 10 employees over a 30 day period of time: art. L 1233-19 LC.
* 10 or more employees over a 30 day period: art. L 1233-46 LC.
+ Criminal penalties for failure to observe the notification requirement: art. L 1238-4 LC.
Notification to workers' representatives:
* Less than 10 employees over 30 days: art. L 1233-8 to L 1233-10
*10 or more employees over 30 days: art. L 1233-28 to L 1233-33 LC.
Approval by public administration or judicial bodies:
Intervention of the administration: verifies the regularity of the procedure (with regard to information to the workers' representatives, adoption of social plan) and gives advisory opinion but no power to adopt binding decisions: See L 1233-52 to L 1233-57 LC.
However approval is requested prior to dismissal of some protected workers (i.e. trade union rep. : art. L 2411-3 LC).
Approval by workers' representatives:
Priority rules for collective dismissals (social considerations, age, job tenure):
Art. L 1233-5 LC:
Criteria to be used:
1) family responsibilities
2) length of service
3) social considerations: difficult re-entry in the labour market (in particular for elderly employees and disabled persons)
Employer's obligation to consider alternatives to dismissal (transfers, retraining...):
Art. L 1233-4 LC (general retraining and redeployment obligation applicable to any collective dismissal)
*Mandatory "employment safeguard plan" (plan de sauvegarde de l'emploi) for enterprises with more than 50 employees in case of a collective dismissal concerning 10 or more employees over a 30 day period: art. L 1233-61 to L 1233-64 LC.
For failure to adopt a mandatory social plan, compensation awarded by the judge cannot be less than the last 12 month's wages (art. L1235-11 LC).
(In addition, depending on the size of the company, the following measures can be mandatory: "reclassification leave" (congé de reclassement), "individual reclassification programme" (convention de reclassement personnalisée), "revitalization of the labour market area" (revitalisation des bassins d'emploi): art. 1233-65 to L 1233-90 LC).
Priority rules for re-employment:
In case of dismissal of 10 or more employees over a 30 day period: preferential rehiring within a limit of 1 year and if requested by the employee: art. L 1235-45 LC.
See also art. L 1233-45 LC: non observance of the preferential right to re-employment entails compensation that shall amount to 2 months' wages).