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French Court of Cassation (Cour de Cassation française), No. 95-44.738, 29 March 1998

Type Judgment
Case number 95-44.738


Dismissal of an employee who does not perform duties for which he was hired for religious reasons. Absence of discrimination based on religious belief.

Normative references

Art.1 and art. 75 of the French Constitution
Art. 1134 and art.1147 of the French Civil Code
Art. L122-45 of the French Labor Code


Although the employer is bound to respect the religious beliefs of his employee, these do not fall within the scope of the employment contract. Therefore, the employer does not commit any violation if he asks the employee to perform the duties for which he was hired, even if they are contrary to the principles of his religious belief. Indeed, if the behaviour of the employee in his personal life, outside working hours, must not affect the employer, during the working activity, the employee is subject to the authority of the employer and the claims of rights and freedoms which fall within the sphere of personal life (such as religious freedom) must be reconciled with contractual obligations and the organisation of work. It follows that the refusal of the worker to carry out certain tasks clearly indicated (ab origine) in the employment contract and known at the beginning of the employment relationship (such as having to handle pork meat) constitutes just cause for dismissal.