In two decisions both rendered on 17 July 2019, the French Supreme Court ruled that the Macron scale (a mechanism introduced on 24 September 2017 to provide for caps and floors on damages for unfair dismissal) complies with international conventions ratified by the French government. These decisions were rendered through a specific procedure (demande d’avis) in which the French Supreme Court does not judge a case but is invited to take a legal position on a specific issue in order to harmonize legal practice.
These decisions should have ended the dissension of several French industrial tribunals which had set aside the Macron scale, considering it to be in breach of article 10 of the Termination of Employment Convention of the International Labor Organization and article 24 of the European Social Charter, both of which provide for adequate protection and appropriate compensation in the event of unfair dismissal.
However, since 17 July 2019 at least three French industrial tribunals have rendered decisions which have again set aside the Macron scale, ignoring the position taken by the French Supreme Court. The wish of the tribunal judges is undoubtedly to continue the rebellion against the Macron scale and to force either the French Supreme Court to review its position or the French Parliament to cancel the reform.
The Paris and Reims courts of appeal are expected to take a position on the Macron scale on 25 September 2019. Should they agree with the French Supreme Court, it is likely that the French industrial tribunals would be more reluctant to continue the rebellion. However, a ruling by the courts that the Macron scale was in breach of international conventions would support the rebellion.
Let’s wait and see!