Independent workers: concrete case about how to avoid them becoming employees

In a previous article (see here), we were highlighting recommendations to companies in order to help them try and avoid independent workers being considered as employees.

In December 2022, the French Supreme Court again clarified some of the criteria that allow an independent worker to be classified as an employee.

In the case put to the Court, a worker had signed an independent contract with a user company in 2019 and then argued before the Employment Tribunal that this contract should be recharacterized as an employment relationship.

The French Supreme Court confirmed the decision by which the Court of Appeal had considered that the independent worker was in fact an employee of the company as he was in a subordination link with that company (and not in an independent contractor relationship). In order to characterise this subordination link, the court had identified that the independent worker:

  • was integrated in a team;
  • had to follow specific rules regarding his working time and training;
  • had to send a weekly report to the company each Friday by noon;
  • used the company’s premises;
  • had an email address using the company’s name;
  • used the communication means, back-office process and electronic tools of the company;
  • was not autonomous in his activities as he needed to always secure validations from the company;
  • was under the authority of the company’s director.

It is therefore important to pay attention to these criteria in order to avoid the independent worker being classified as an employee of the company.

(Cass. soc. 14 dec. 2022, n°22-12.263)