Key facts of the case:
Mr. X., laid off on economic grounds, referred to the employment court with various requests, in particular for back pay of overtime.
Outcome of the case:
The Court of Appeal of Versailles ruled a flat-rate days worked pay agreement (the fixed day convention which is a document which provides for different duration of work from the legal or conventional duration, on the basis of a fixed rate established in hours (over a week, month or year) or in days (over the year) concluded pursuant to collective agreements to be null and void. It considered that the system used did not make it possible to effectively control the maximum duration of work and that the convention was not likely to guarantee at the very least that the workload remains reasonable and ensures good distribution over the working time of interested party and thus does not ensure the protection of the safety and the health of the employee. It condemned the SGD company to pay Mr. X. overtime hours back pay. However, the Court of cassation overturned the ruling of the Court of Appeal and returned the case and the parties to the state they were in before the aforementioned ruling and returned them to another composition of the Court of Appeal of Versailles. In the view of the Court of cassation, the contractual provisions ensuring a guarantee of the respect of rest periods, as well as reasonable maximum duration of work by organizing the monitoring and control of the workload on a monthly basis by the means of a declaratory statement signed by the senior manager and validated by the human resources department, together with an alert system for the management in the event of a difficulty, with the possibility to request an interview with the human resources department are in the conformity with the Charter which establishes a European standard that has to be observed.
'Considering subparagraph 11 of the preamble to the Constitution of 27 October 1946, Article 151 of the Treaty on the operation of the European Union referring to the European Social Charter and the Community Charter of the fundamental social rights of workers, Articles 3121-39 to L. 3121-45 of the Labour code, interpreted in light of article 17, paragraphs 1 and 4, of Directive 93/104/CE of the Council of 23 November 1993, of Articles 17, paragraphs 1 and 19 of Directive 2003/88/CE of the European Parliament and the Council of 4 November 2003 and Article 31 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, together with the collective agreement on the reduction of the working time of 21 February 2000 taken in its endorsement of 10 November 2008;
Given that the right to health and rest has a number of constitutional requirements:
Given that, subsequently, it results from the articles referred to above of the directives of the European Union that the Member States can derogate from the provisions relating to the duration of working time only if they respect the general principles of protection of the safety and the health of the worker […]'
« Vu l'alinéa 11 du préambule de la Constitution du 27 octobre 1946, l'article 151 du Traité sur le fonctionnement de l'Union européenne se référant à la Charte sociale européenne et à la Charte communautaire des droits sociaux fondamentaux des travailleurs, les articles 3121-39 à L. 3121-45 du code du travail, interprétés à la lumière de l'article 17, §§ 1 et 4, de la directive 93/104/CE du Conseil du 23 novembre 1993, des articles 17, § 1, et 19 de la directive 2003/88/CE du Parlement européen et du Conseil du 4 novembre 2003 et de l'article 31 de la Charte des droits fondamentaux de l'Union européenne, ensemble l'accord collectif sur la réduction du temps de travail du 21 février 2000 pris en son avenant du 10 novembre 2008 ;
Attendu, d'abord, que le droit à la santé et au repos est au nombre des exigences constitutionnelles ;
Attendu, ensuite, qu'il résulte des articles susvisés des directives de l'Union européenne que les Etats membres ne peuvent déroger aux dispositions relatives à la durée du temps de travail que dans le respect des principes généraux de la protection de la sécurité et de la santé du travailleur … »