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Communication at work Although the employee has the freedom of expression and the right to criticize within the framework of the company, there are limits that should not be exceeded  in terms of  content and form.

Freedom of expression and criticism at work

In a judgment of July 11, 2012, the Court of Cassation considered that the regional director of a company had abused this freedom by sending aggressive emails to his colleagues and hierarchical superiors on the conditions of exercise and organization of their work.

Despite an e-mail warning, the employee persisted in this attitude by sending an e-mail message to his line manager, with a copy to the thirteen other team members, “who urged them unequivocally and publicly to be precise and realistic and take into account a number of points to understand the situation.

Balancing rights and responsibilities: Limits to employee expression: –

If the Court of Appeal considered that it was an abuse of his freedom of expression and his right to criticize, it did not draw the legal consequences, considered the Court of Cassation.

The case highlights the delicate balance between freedom of expression and limits in the workplace. Although employees have the right to express their opinions and offer constructive criticism, this must not be done in an aggressive or disrespectful manner that damages the work environment or hinders the performance of their colleagues and superiors. .

In this particular case, the regional manager’s emails were found to be aggressive, exceeding the acceptable limits of criticism. The Court of Cassation has emphasized the importance of maintaining respectful and professional communication in the workplace, even when expressing  dissenting opinions  .

It should be noted that freedom of expression at work is not absolute and may be subject to certain restrictions, in particular when it disrupts the functioning of the company, creates a hostile work environment or undermines the reputation of the organization.

Employers have a duty to maintain a healthy and productive work environment, and they can take appropriate steps to address instances of abusive expression. This may include disciplinary action, counseling or other corrective action to ensure that employees understand the limits of acceptable behavior.

In conclusion, if employees have the right to freedom of expression and criticism in the workplace, it is essential to exercise this right responsibly and respectfully. Maintaining a positive and professional work environment benefits both individuals and the organization as a whole. 

DAMY Law Firm .