SUPPLEMENTARY SOCIAL PROTECTION SCHEMES: THE PRINCIPAL OF EQUAL TREATMENT ONLY APPLIES TO EMPLOYEES IN THE SAME PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY

Cass. Soc. French Supreme Court (“Cour de cassation”) (Social Division) - 13 March 2013, n°11-23.761 / 11-13645  /10-28.022  / 11-20.490 (French)

In settled case law, the Court of Cassation has ruled that a difference in professional categories alone cannot justify the granting of a benefit for the inequality of treatment of employees placed in an identical situation with regard to said benefit (Cass. Soc. 20 February 2008; Cass. Soc. 1st July 2009).

In four rulings on the 13th March 2013, the Court of Cassation made an exception with regard to supplementary social protection.

It has effectively considered, for the principal of equal treatment, that “because of the particular characteristics of benefit schemes covering illness, incapacity, invalidity, death and retirement, which are based on a risk assessment procedure specific to each professional category, take into account a solidarity objective and require the guarantee by an external organisation for their implementation, equality of treatment only applies between employees of the same professional category”.

With these rulings, the Court therefore allows for the survival of numerous collective agreements providing distinct guarantees according to professional category.

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