The questions of what is labor law and what are its variations within a company come up regularly. The concept and usefulness of labor law is not as obvious as one might think. Labor law refers to all the rules governing labor relations within a company.

There are usually four main areas of labor law or social law.

Labor law : individual labor relations

This refers to the relationship between the employer and the employee, most often formalized through an employment contract. The formation, execution and termination of the employment contract are all part of individual labor relations.

Examples of issues or subjects included in individual labor relations :

  • drafting of employment contracts and specific clauses (non-competition clause, mobility clause, etc.)  ;
  • reclassification of an employee declared unfit by the occupational physician;
  • dismissal for misconduct ;
  • payment of salary and its accessories ;
  • moral harassment ;
  • sexual harassment, etc.

The employer and the employee have mutual obligations arising mainly from the employment contract, the collective bargaining agreement that may be applicable, the company agreements and with the company rules and regulations. The challenge for the employer is to be able to run the company while respecting the rights of the employees. However, he is not deprived of all power since he retains hierarchical authority over the employee. This implies that the employer has the power to direct and sanction.

For his part, the employee is protected by labor law. However, he remains subordinate to the employer and must therefore respect the rules applicable to his employment contract as well as the employer’s directives. This may include, for example, compliance with work schedules or the proper performance of tasks related to the employee’s function.

Labor law : collective labor relations

They refer to the rules governing relations between, on the one hand, the group of employees and possibly their representatives (unions or elected officials) and, on the other hand, the employer or groups of employers.

Examples of issues or subjects included in the collective labor relations :

The stakes are high in terms of collective labor relations. In particular, the employer will be able to negotiate with employee representatives the rules applicable in the company (company agreements. For example, on the organization of working hours). Social relations tend to take on more and more importance within companies (especially after the Labor Law and the Macron Ordinances), conditioning the existence of a good social climate within the company, thus allowing to avoid social movements. Finally, dialogue with employees and their representatives facilitates their acceptance of the collective measures taken.

Social security law

Social security law is a branch of social law that is closely linked to labor law. Social security law covers the social risks faced by insured persons, including employees, and therefore includes health insurance, retirement, occupational accidents and diseases, etc.

Some examples of issues or topics included in social security law:

  • Employees’ retirement ;
  • contesting the occupational nature of a disease ;
  • oemployer’s safety obligation ;
  • sick leave ;
  • salary maintenance in case of sick leave ;
  • provident fund  ;
  • health costs ;
  • inexcusable fault, etc., etc.

Litigation : disputes in labor law

Litigation is an area of labor law in its own right. Contrary to popular belief, it is not limited to disputes before the Conseil de Prud’hommes / (Industrial Tribunal).

In labor law, litigation refers to actions brought before the various jurisdiction: high court, industrial Tribunal, civil court… They can be collective or individual.

Some examples of disputes in labor law :

  • an employee can ask for a salary reminder before the Conseil de Prud’hommes / (Industrial Tribunal) or contest his dismissal ;
  • a trade union organization can bring an action before civil court to obtain the cancellation of professional elections ;
  • the responsibility of a manager can be engaged before the criminal courts ;
  • a decision of the labor inspectorate can be challenged before the administrative courts, etc.

With an activity exclusively focused on companies and dedicated to labor law, PHILIPPOT Avocat intervenes on all the above-mentioned issues.