While unlawful discrimination in the UK workplace may result in significant awards of compensation for the employee, in France employers can end up in prison.
Employee rights in France are contained in legislation, conventions and collective agreements. They are the minimum protections that an employer owes to its employees and the parties cannot agree by contract to less favourable terms.
The principle of non-discrimination is one of the founding principles of both French social legislation and the Treaty of Rome. It supposes that an employer should not take into account, either at the time of recruitment of an employee or at termination of employment, their sex, race, religion, nationality, health, or political convictions.
All those who propose to hire staff in an industrial or corporate establishment must notify the Office of Work Inspection by registered letter of their intention do so.
In the first eight days of each month, a statement must be made to the departmental director of employment and manpower by establishments employing at least 50 employees, notifying the director of any employment contracts that have been signed or terminated during the preceding month. Organisations must also keep a personnel register listing the hiring and departures of personnel, as well as a register of foreign employees.
The employer is obliged to register the employee with the organisation responsible for social security deductions in the region eight days before employment is due to commence.
To simplify the formalities prior to hiring, employers declare their employees to the social and retirement organisations by way of the "Single Notification of Hiring", addressed to URSSAF - the organisation to which social security contributions are paid by employers. This also covers the notification requirements of other social organisations, on matters such as health insurance, unemployment, employment healthcare and medicine.
Hiring Foreign Employees
Under the Treaty of Rome, citizens of the European Union can take advantage of the freedom of movement and settling and are assimilated with national employees regarding employment rights.
When hiring non-EU individuals, the employer should ensure, at time of hiring, that the foreigner resides on French territory on a regular basis and should note on the personnel register for each foreign employee their field of work a