According to case law, an employee who claims to be morally harassed cannot be dismissed on that ground, except when he reported these facts in bad faith.
In a 7 February 2012 case, the French Supreme Court has defined what constitutes “bad faith”, setting out that it only exists when the employee knows that the reported facts are not true.
In this case, a sales assistant had an interview with her manager during the course of which she was told that her behaviour damaged smooth relationships at work. The sales assistant accused her manager of morally harassing her, indicating that after the interview, she was made to work in the shop’s storeroom, far from her colleagues. When the employer asked her for explanations in relation to this contention, the employee refused to answer. The employer dismissed the employee on the ground of her bad faith in claiming that she was a victim of moral harassment. The employee challenged her dismissal, based of the fact that she was not in bad faith as she really believed that the reported facts constituted moral harassment.
The French Supreme Court held that the dismissal was null and void as the employee reported true facts.
Therefore, only employees who know that reported facts are not true are of bad faith and can be dismissed on these grounds.
Employers should be careful before taking any disciplinary actions against an employee who claims to be harassed. In case of litigation, the employer who dismisses an employee having accused it of moral harassment will have to prove that the employee was not reporting true facts.