08 April 2008

Better Know A Strange Labor Law: France

This is the third installment of our new series "Better Know A Strange Labor Law".
You can find the previous installments here.

(Please also read the disclaimer at the bottom of this post)

Another disclaimer
This post is not really about a specific labor law, but rather about a habit that has legal implications. And it's pretty strange.

: The Country
France, also called the Hexagon, is situated in western Europe and is one of the founding members of the European Union. They have the bomb, the president is now married to an Italian supermodel and they call a byte "un octet". Their English is usually not too good but their bread is incredibly yummy. Never compare Rugby to American Football!

France: The Strange Habit
The French love a good strike, especially before or after long weekends.

When on strike against a specific company, the unions like to lay siege to the headquarters, keeping the members of senior management inside the building until an agreement has been reached. Their hostages get water and food, but they have to sleep in their offices and can't take showers or change clothes. This can last several days.

Taking HR Hostage
But here's another strategy: instead of occupying the top floor, the unions take the HR department hostage. And since they're already there, they make copies of the personnel files to pass the time. After all, this could be useful for future contract or salary negotiations.

Keep Quiet
According to French law this is of course highly illegal, but it's up to the individual to sue their captors. And since most companies want to avoid additional trouble, they tell their employees to just shut up.

I'm no lawyer. This doesn't constitute in any way, shape, form or size legal advice. People tell me stuff. If they seem nice, I assume that they know what they're talking about. If you really need serious advice, contact a lawyer.

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