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By Grégory DAMY
Lawyer in labor law and more particularly in dismissal procedures

The reclassification obligation is considered by case law as a real condition for dismissal for economic reasons .

In other words, whatever the merits of the economic reason, the dismissal is without real and serious cause if the employer has not fulfilled its reclassification obligation.

The court recalls in its various judgments that non-compliance by the employer with its reclassification obligation deprives the dismissal of real and serious cause (Cass. soc. May 2, 2001, n° 98-44945 and 98-44946).

The employer must therefore be particularly vigilant , especially if the dismissal is of a collective nature and the employees have significant seniority. In the event of a dispute, it is the employer’s responsibility to justify that he has sought all possibilities of reclassification or that reclassification was impossible (Cass. soc. July 5, 2011 no. 10-14.625).

In practice, the employer must provide the unique personnel registers of the Company and, where applicable, of the companies in the group.