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Unless abused, the employee enjoys freedom of expression within and outside the company, to which only restrictions justified by the nature of the task to be accomplished and proportionate to the desired goal can be made.

An executive, a member of the management committee, had created a union and distributed, in the name of this union, a leaflet denouncing “the anxiety, stress, mistrust and uncertainties of all, in the face of rumors and other restructurings that are both sneaky and risky.” After a temporary layoff, he was fired.

The Court of Cassation, censuring the decision of the trial judges, considers that the remarks made in the leaflet did not constitute an abuse of his freedom of expression by the employee. It recalls that only restrictions justified by the nature of the task to be performed and proportionate to the aim sought can be imposed on employees’ freedom of expression.

In addition, for the High Court, the remarks were neither abusive, nor defamatory, nor excessive and the fact that they emanate from a member of the management committee did not have to be taken into consideration.

Lawyer Grégory DAMY Nice labor law, freedom of expression