On June 18, 2017, and June 29, 2017, Paris and Nantes civil courts (les tribunaux de grande instance) respectively issued opposite rulings interpreting the provisions of Article L. 4614-13 of the French Labor Code.
Pursuant to Article L. 4614-13, an employer can challenge a Committee for Health, Safety and Working Conditions (Comité d'hygiène, de sécurité et des conditions de travail) (CHSCT) decision requesting an expert's consultationand the estimated cost of the consultationwithin a 15-day period, starting from the time of the CHSCT's deliberation. (A CHSCT is an employee representatives' body empowered to set up experts' consultations in order to protect the health and safety of workers.)
In the cases at hand, the employer had received belatedly (one month after the deliberation in the Paris case and more than four months later in the Nantes case) the letter providing the fee estimate and scope of the expert's consultation. The issue in each case was whether the date of receipt of the expert's letter by the employer could be deemed as the starting date of the applicable statute of limitations for challenging the expert's fee estimate and scope of consultation.
The court of Paris answered positively, ruling that in this particular situation the starting date of the applicable statute of limitations was the date on which the employer knew the estimated cost of the expert's consultation. On the contrary, the court of Nantes ruled that the starting date of the applicable statute...