Mediation in French employment matters

Taking into account the increase in the timeframe of legal procedures, more and more employers and employees are deciding to try to resolve their dispute by mediation – often after unsuccessful settlement and/or conciliation phases.

  • What is mediation?

Under French employment law, mediation is an amicable dispute resolution process which does not aim to judge the case from a legal standpoint.

Mediation allows the parties to find a solution to their dispute themselves by being directly involved in the process (with their lawyers) and participating in the negotiations.

The goal of mediation is to find an innovative solution which is convenient for both parties and is not bound by the legal rules (contrary to legal proceedings).

The mediator is independent and neutral. The role of the mediator is regulated by the French mediation Code.

In employment law matters, the mediation process is all the more recommended, because often no amicable agreement is found due to the fact that employers and employees are not placed in the same position.

  • How does the mediation process work?

A mediation process only takes 2 to 3 months and is totally confidential (contrary to conciliation before the Employment Tribunal).

The process generally takes place as follows:

  • Organisation of 1 or 2 individual meetings with each party and their lawyers which aim to allow the parties to express their needs and expectations;
  • Organisation of 1 or 2 collective meetings allowing a more constructive and calm dialogue;
  • Formalisation of the amicable solution accompanied by the lawyers of the parties.

No doubt over the coming years, taking into account the congestion of the courts, employers and employees will more and more try to resolve their disputes by mediation.