Dismissal of an employee for moral harassment: no serious misconduct if the employee’s practices were known and tolerated by the management
An employee, a manager, had been dismissed for serious misconduct due to moral harassment committed against one of the employees of his team.
On July 12, 2022, the Court of Cassation confirmed a decision of the Court of Appeal considering this dismissal unfounded.
Such a decision may astonish since a dismissal due to moral harassment is in principle justified.
The key takeaway of this decision is that the Court of Cassation was sensitive to the fact that:
- The employer was aware of the harassment committed by the manager and failed to condemn it
- Yet worse, the manager had acted in conjunction with his superior and the company's human resources department.
Therefore, the employer was subsequently ill-founded to dismiss the employee on the grounds of moral harassment.
This decision calls for particular vigilance regarding the management of an employee accused of moral harassment and stresses the importance of resorting to sanctions as soon as aware of the facts.
The Court of Cassation’s judgment can be accessed here.