Can insolence justify dismissal?

Publié le 28 novembre 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

Can one oppose one’s employer under freedom of expression without fear of being fired? Yes, the Court of Cassation responded in a ruling of October 11, 2023, if there is no abuse of freedom of expression.

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Image 1Crédits: Dragana Gordic -

One employee refused to be granted leave under a company agreement.

The employer then decided to dismiss the employee on the grounds of her opposition and lack of respect for the hierarchy.

The employee, for her part, considered that she had exercised her freedom of expression and had therefore brought an action before the prud’homale court seeking a declaration that her dismissal had been void.

The Court of Appeal, having noted the continuing disagreement despite the employer’s explanations, the employee’s refusal to comply with the rules on leave and the impact on the functioning of the company, considered that an abuse in the exercise of freedom of expression was a feature.

The Court of Cassation quashed this analysis. The employee enjoys his freedom of expression in the company. Disciplinary action or dismissal can only be justified by abuse. This abuse involves the use of abusive, defamatory or excessive terms.

As the Court of Appeal did not find that the statements made were offensive, defamatory or excessive, the case was referred back for retrial.