In a decision dated 21 September 2017, the French Supreme Court (“Cour de cassation”) issued a ruling concerning the enforceability of a bonus plan in France which had been communicated in English several months after the beginning of the reference period.
This decision is worth mentioning on two accounts.
On the one hand, the French Supreme Court considers that the company’s communication of the bonus plan in English valid as long as the French version thereof was displayed on the intranet of the company a few days later.
The French Supreme Court thus approves the practice of companies that communicate individually the English version of the bonus plan to each beneficiary and only display the French version of the plan on a collective forum.
On the other hand, the French Supreme Court acknowledges that objective circumstances may excuse the late communication of targets. The French Supreme Court rules that the Court of Appeal should have verified if the merger and the associated administrative formalities, which the employer had argued explained the late communication, did indeed prevent the communication of realistic and appropriate targets at the beginning of the reference period.
As a consequence, targets, even if they are communicated with delay, are enforceable upon employees if the employer can demonstrate one-off circumstances which explain this delay, subject to the fact that the targets are realistic and appropriate to the situation.
Cass. Soc. 21 September 2017, Number 16-20426
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