Cutting off all contact with the office while on vacation is your strictest right. Karine Audouze is a lawyer specializing in employment law at UGGC in Paris.
franceinfo: Do we have the right, without incurring penalties, to cut absolutely all links with work during their vacation?
Karine Audouze: Absolutely. During the holidays, the contract is suspended and the work performance is also suspended. So we can not answer, it is a right intrinsically linked to that of taking leave.
What if it’s an urgent call or text?
Yes, the right to disconnect allows you not to respond to requests from your employer without incurring penalties. It is possible that charters provide for urgent exceptional circumstances during which it is imperative that the employee responds. For example a fire or a personal accident. We have been able to sanction employees who did not respond to their employer, for example to obtain a computer code.
Does this right to disconnect also apply to employees on a day package?
Yes, it is through them that the concept of the right to disconnect was born and in their package agreement are often included provisions on disconnection. It is more difficult to implement this because in principle they are autonomous in the management of their work, but the employer must respect their right to disconnect.
And for senior executives?
In principle, they are exempt from working hours so it could be considered that they are not subject to the right to disconnect. Some charters exclude them. But we can also say that insofar as it is a right to rest and the employer has an obligation of safety vis-à-vis his employees, the manager could, if he is extremely requested, rely on this right to disconnect.
What risks the employer who would oblige an employee to work during his vacation?
It would be considered as not giving a legal right to leave. It is a fifth class fine which is pronounced as many times as there are employees concerned. The most convincing risk would be that of damages which would be granted for not having been able to take his leave or if the employee places himself on the regulation of overtime.
What if we are simply bullied or behind in advancement?
The employee must not suffer reprisals for having exercised his right to disconnect. One of the means is of course to go to court, but the burden of proof of this infringement will rest on the employee who must prove a link between the exercise of his right and this reprisal or this bullying. He could also plead moral harassment.