Pay attention to the timing when announcing a layoff!

To dismiss an employee, you must follow a specific procedure involving, among other things, a period known as the “reflection period” 2 working days between the date of the preliminary interview and the date of sending the dismissal letter.


during this so-called “reflection” period, no decision can be announced to the employee.


Compliance with this deadline is difficult because the employer may want, out of respect for the employee, or quite simply for practical reasons, to inform the latter or his teams, of his dismissal, in particular when this termination is exclusive of notice (because it is the date of sending of the letter which materializes the date of dismissal).


However, even when the company is small, and the intention is laudable, announcing orally to the employee the decision that has been made before sending the dismissal letter is always a risky practice.

Indeed, the dismissal announced in advance can be qualified as verbal dismissal, necessarily irregular and without real and serious cause, allowing the employee to seek damage

An employer had sent the employee a dismissal letter on November 15. At the same time, he had telephoned the person concerned to inform him of the dismissal and to tell him that he should not report to the office the next day. The letter was received on November 16.

The employee invoked a verbal dismissal and had been followed in his argument by the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Cassation, hearing the dispute, recalled that the Court of Appeal should have investigated whether the letter of dismissal had been sent:

  • before the phone call → legal procedure followed
  • or after the telephone conversation → irregular verbal dismissal without real and serious cause

This decision is a reminder of good reflexes in this area:

  • Always send the dismissal letter by registered mail
  • Keep the time-stamped receipt from La Poste and
  • If the dismissal must be announced to the employee, his colleagues or clients, make sure that this announcement takes place after the letter of dismissal has been sent