A draft law provides a procedure for alerting the employer in case of serious risk to public health or the environment.
A bill passed in first reading by the Senate on 21 November 2012 and by the National Assembly on 31 January 2013, may give new alert mechanisms in public health and the environment. Certain provisions relevant to French labor law.
An employee may notify the employer immediately if he/she believes in good faith that the products or processes used or implemented by the establishment pose a serious risk to public health or the environment. The employer then notify the employee who transmitted the alert what answers are given to the alert. The “whistleblower” would be protected: he/she could not be punished or subjected to discrimination for having reported or testified in good faith facts which he/she was aware in the exercise of its functions.
The security & safety work council (mandatory as from 50 employees as per French employment law) is likewise involved:
– Firstly, one of its members who notices that there is a serious risk to public health or the environment would alert the employer immediately;
– Secondly, the security & safety work council would meet in case of serious event related to the activity of the establishment which infringed security regulations or may cause harm to public health or the environment.
In case of disagreement with the employer on the merits of an alarm or lack of response within a period of one month, the employee or employee representative may report facts to the representative of the State in the department.
The debate will now continue in the second reading.
Lafourcade Avocats include experts in French labour law (qualified French lawyer) and experts in psychosocial risks.