Variable compensation : bonus targets must be communicated in French
To be enforceable against the employee, the targets must be communicated in French. If they are not, the employee is entitled to demand payment of his or her full variable compensation.
However, the question arose as to whether this solution would also apply to an employee who usually works in English.
In a decision dated February 2nd, 2022, the French Supreme Court (“Cour de cassation”) ruled that the objectives cannot be enforced against the employee if he or she did not "have access, in any form whatsoever, to a document in French setting out the targets".
This decision may seem surprising in a context where:
• The employee's working language with his management was English;
• The employee and his management discussed the targets by email in English;
• The employee personally completed his evaluation in English on the basis of the targets set.
We can therefore only reiterate our recommendation for vigilance on this point.