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Employee’s right to keep company vehicle during notice period
In the event that an employee has a company vehicle for both professional and personal use, he has the right to keep it for the entire duration of his notice, even if he is exempt from notice ( Cass. soc. 8 March , 2000, no. 99-43091 , BC V no. 92). However, there have been cases where employers have attempted to circumvent this rule by including specific clauses in the employment contract .
One of these clauses stipulated that if the employee waived his notice period, he was required to return the company vehicle upon notification of dismissal. However, this clause was deemed ineffective by the Court of Cassation. According to the court, whatever the provisions of the employment contract, the exemption from notice must not result in any reduction in the salary and benefits that the employee would have received if he had continued to work.
Employee rights and employer obligations
Consequently, the employer was required to compensate the employee for having wrongfully deprived him of his company vehicle during the notice period. It is essential to note that this particular solution applies to company vehicles used for both business and personal purposes. However, if the vehicle is intended exclusively for professional use, the company may demand its return as soon as the employee exempt from notice ceases his duties (cass. soc. December 17, 1987, no. 85-41350 D).
In summary, when an employee has a company vehicle for both professional and personal use, he or she has the right to keep it for the entire duration of their notice period, even if notice is waived. Any attempt by the employer to derogate from this right through contractual clauses is deemed ineffective by the Court of Cassation. Employers must not reduce an employee’s salary and benefits during the notice period, regardless of contract provisions. In the event of non-compliance, the employer may be required to compensate the employee for the wrongful deprivation of their company vehicle. However, if the vehicle is for exclusively professional use, the company can request its return when the employee exempt from notice ceases his duties.