Does an employee still have the right to speak out against his company?

Arnaud Teissier is a partner at Capstan Avocats. Capstan Lawyers

EXPERTISE – If the freedom of speech is guaranteed by the French Constitution, it is not without limit.

An employee, by signing an employment contract, does not waive his freedom of expression individual, by virtue of a principle whose constitutional value we often like to recall in France. An employee can therefore express himself about his company, including to criticize it.

• But his freedom of speech is not unlimited. The employee belongs to a collective, which obliges him to respect a few basic rules, whether his remarks are made inside or outside the company.

• Internally, the employee has a right of expression which is protected by article 2281-1 of the labor code. On this basis, it is accepted that an employee can exercise a critical eye on his company. For example, the fact for an employee to question his superior during an internal meeting, by alerting on the organization of his work and the overload which results from it, concerns freedom of expression.

The right to express oneself within the company must be exercised with the requirement of respect for others

• The employee cannot therefore be sanctioned or dismissed…

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