Print Posted By Lost in France on 21 Sep 2006 in Living in France - Business and employment in France

Protection against sexual harassment

Definition of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is harassment by a person based on behaviour aimed at obtaining sexual favours for his or her benefit or for that of a third person.

Who is covered by this protection?

The law applies to all employees, including civil servants and those in the private sector. It also applies to caretakers, employees of residential buildings, domestic employees, nursery school assistants and sailors. It applies also to candidates for jobs and candidates for training courses or in-company training periods.

No employee or candidate for a job, training course or training period can be penalised if he/she:
- has suffered or refused to suffer sexual harassment;
- has witnessed such behaviour or has reported it.

Employees cannot be dismissed or be discriminated against in these cases.
All disciplinary sanctions and dismissals must be cancelled, and all discrimination prohibited.

{loadposition contentad}Sexual harassment cannot be taken into account in decisions concerning:
recruitment and pay;
training and assignment of work;
qualification, classification and promotion;
change of jobs, or termination or renewal of the employment contract;
disciplinary sanctions.

Employees who are victims or witnesses of sexual harassment can appeal to the industrial tribunal to have this behaviour stopped and request damages.
All representative trade union organisations in the undertaking can, with the written agreement of the employee, initiate the appropriate court proceedings on his/her behalf.

Employees must establish the facts that permit a presumption of the existence of sexual harassment.
In the light of this, the accused must prove that his/her behaviour does not constitute sexual harassment and that his/her acts were justified by reasons other than harassment.

Penalties in the case of moral harassment:

Disciplinary sanction:
All employees who have engaged in sexual harassment are subject to disciplinary sanctions.
Criminal sanctions:
Sexual harassment is a crime punishable by one year in prison and a fine of EUR 15 000.


For further information, contact:
the staff representatives or a trade union organisation;
the Departmental Directorate for Labour, Employment and Vocational Training (DDTEFP);
the Labour Inspectorate;
the reception and information service of the Regional Court;
an association for defending the rights of people suffering discrimination;
the free legal consultation service (contact the town hall or Regional Court).

Labour Code: Articles L122-46 and L122-48
Criminal Law: Articles 222-33 to 222-33-1

Source: European Union
© European Communities, 1995-2006


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