French employment law - Moral harassment: the judge must analyze the facts alleged by the employee whatever their date (c. cass. June 29, 2022, n° 21-13.959)
The action in moral harassment is prescribed by 5 years from the day when the holder of a right knew or should have known the facts allowing him to exercise it, and this by reference to article 2224 of the civil Codel.
In a judgment delivered on June 29, 2022 (appeal no. 21-13.959), and published in the bulletin, the social chamber recalls the procedures for assessing the limitation period for acts of moral harassment suffered by an employee, in particular when the latter took place over several years.
1) The facts.
In the present case submitted to the Court of Cassation, an employee had been hired from February 27th, 1995 as a junior commercial attaché.
In July 2000, he was promoted to sales manager, executive status, then assigned, from October 1, 2005 and following a transfer request to a new agency where he performed the functions of sales engineer, then those of engineer senior salesperson from April 1, 2010.
The employee was dismissed for real and serious cause by letter dated January 25, 2016.
Claiming to have suffered moral harassment, he seized the labor court on September 5, 2016.
In a judgment of February 5, 2021, the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal dismissed all of the employee's claims, finding in particular that some of the acts of moral harassment invoked were time-barred.
In its decision of June 29, 2022, the Court of Cassation censures the judges on the merits, recalling the conditions for assessing the limitation period in matters of moral harassment.
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Frédéric CHHUM avocat et ancien membre du conseil de l’ordre des avocats de Paris (mandat 2019-2021)
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