Photo of Raphaël Balji

The French Supreme Court ruled on March 6, 2024 (n°22-11.016), that an employer cannot terminate an employee who has sent racist and xenophobic messages to a colleague via the professional email system,  if the messages were private.


Due to an error made by one of the recipients of the emails, the employer became aware of the emails sent by the employee to his colleagues. The employee was dismissed for gross misconduct and challenged his dismissal by claiming that the employer has violated his private life as the emails were titled “personal and confidential”.

In return, the employer argued that, in accordance with the French Supreme Court’s rulings, a reason relating to an employee’s personal life can justify disciplinary dismissal if it constitutes a breach of an obligation arising from the employee’s employment contract.

Therefore, the employer claimed that the employee breached his employment contract’s obligations by sending racist and xenophobic emails via the professional email system.

The employer also argued that the employee abused the professional email system for personal purposes.Continue Reading No disciplinary action for sending private racist messages via the professional email system