Hygiene and safety - Raphaël Avocats
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Hygiene and safety

Hygiene and safety

The CHSCT (Hygiene, Safety and Work Conditions Committee) may have an employer ordered to pay damages, even absent its own budget

The Cour de Cassation restated in a 3 March 2015 decision that the CHSCT has a legal personality and, as such, may initiate legal proceedings, in particular to compel the employer to respect his information and consultation related obligations. Moreover, the CHSCT, even if it has no legal budget of its own, may claim damages for prejudice arising from the breach of its right to consultation. In the case at hand, the employer had not consulted the CHSCT prior to introducing the 4G among the products sold by the Company (Cass.Soc., 3 march 2015, n°13-26.258).

A change in the internal rules clause pertaining to work clothes must be submitted to the CHSCT for its opinion

In application of Article L.3121-3 of the Labour Code, when the internal rules and regulations require employees to wear work clothes and to put them on upon arrival at the workplace, they must be paid monetary consideration for the time spent changing into and out of their work clothes. An employer who introduces in the internal rules and regulations an exception to the obligation to wear work clothes at the workplace, in order to avoid payment of the monetary consideration, must first consult the works council and the CHSCT. Otherwise, the new clause is unenforceable and said consideration must be paid (Cass.Soc., 11 February 2015, n°13-16.457).

Employer’s responsibility in organising an electronic vote

A company which decides to use a subcontractor to process the data collected for an electronic vote may not transfer its liability to the subcontractor. The company remains liable for any breach of the obligation to ensure the security and confidentiality of the personal data that the subcontractor might commit and is issued a public warning by the CNIL, even if there has been no effective breach of personal data during the elections.

The Conseil d’Etat (State Council) also draws attention to the obligation to respect the extremely strict requirements for organising an electronic vote, such as resorting to independent experts prior to implementing the system, the continuous numbering of the ballots and the respect of the confidentiality of the means of authentification (which must be ensured by sending recommended letters with acknowledgement of receipt)  (CE, 11 march 2015, n°368748).

Legality and enforceability of blood-alcohol level tests at the workplace

The provisions of internal rules and regulations allowing use of blood-alcohol tests to ascertain, where appropriate, the level of intoxication of an employee at the workplace are legal. However, the test is only enforceable if the conditions of application allow for challenges and if such an intoxication, in light of the work performed by the employee, would expose people or goods to danger, so that it would constitute grave misconduct. Moreover, such a test is only legal if the internal rules and regulations are posted in a suitable place and easily accessible at the workplaces as well as on the premises and on the door of the premises where the recruitment is carried out in compliance with the provisions of Article R. 1321-1 of the Labour Code (CA Rennes, 14 January 2015, n° 14/00618).

In this decision, the Rennes Appeal Court also stated that the alcohol ignition interlock of a vehicle does not test the blood-alcohol level and is not a guarantee of reliability. The use of this device must be limited to road safety purposes, and may not lead to a disciplinary sanction based solely on the results of the device.