Thought Leader – Employment and Labour – Petrel Associés

The way in which a company treats its employees speaks volumes about the company’s morals and when this goes wrong, it can lead to the employee, much to their employer’s dismay, seeking legal action. Earlier this year, Employment Law reformations gained a contentious reaction in France and great changes have been made recently in the employment law sector; thus, this month we speak with Pascal Petrel, who specialises in Labour Law. He gives his expert insight into France’s reformation in employment law and how to advise clients on these new regulations.

 

When negotiating transactions in employment relations, what is the most important aspect to consider? What are the challenges with negotiations?

In individual negotiation transactions, the most important aspect to consider is overall security in a breach of contract situation. This is not only to ensure against subsequent employee litigation, but also the safeguarding of confidential information to which he had access. The greatest challenge to be addressed when negotiating a transaction is that of the agreement’s general balance, for the best protection of the company’s interests. Therefore, limits should be set, beyond which interest in a settlement agreement may fade.

 

How has the employment law sector changed over the years in France? Are there any more changes underway on which people should keep an eye?

Employment and social security law has undergone great changes in recent years. The legislature has primarily considered the simplification of legal mechanisms, mainly in terms of collective labour relations, by regulating social dialogue with workers’ representative institutions. The second area of ​​change is in the growing importance of the collective agreement as a legal source, permitting to take into consideration the needs of the key businesses and employees involved.

 

What is the most challenging aspect of your role and how do you overcome this?

The labour law attorney has a duty to be constantly attentive to his client, comprehend the company’s social context from the very start and determine the most appropriate response in the given situation. To achieve this level of expertise, two factors are ultimately crucial: on the one hand, the Petrel Associés (P&A) law firm’s more than 20 years of experience; and on the other, responsiveness to the needs expressed, seeking, prior to any legal solution, a practical solution to the problem it confronts.

 

As a thought leader, if you could implement legislative changes in France to facilitate your clients, where would you start?

One of the most challenging aspects of the legislation development stage, is the of the number of working hours. Hence, the first reform would be to introduce employee work schedule flexibility, subject to workers’ agreement, of course. Today, too many situations related to working hours can lead to extremely negative consequences for the company financially, or even involving criminal issues.

 

How do you and your company ensure you go the extra mile when advising your clients on new employment regulations?

I have advised companies for well over 30 years; this is the first step in understanding the new legislation process. The second is studying new regulations, comparing them to existing ones and guiding the principles of the legal system, as understood by judges. This ensures, where legislation has not been fully realised, or not been thoroughly thought out, you are able to advise the client in the most efficient and secure way possible.

 

What is the most common type of case with which you deal? Is there any advice you could offer companies to avoid such case?

Many topics deal with aspects of working hours that are starting to be mixed up with new information and communications technology usage. In this matter, the best rule remains that of anticipating their use and hours of connection / disconnection, to avoid situations of overload.

 

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role and why?

Obviously, client satisfaction and obtaining the desired result, are the two main driving forces of our profession. This forms an integral part of the firm’s quality charter.

 

As P&A works with an international network of law firms, how do you operate differently regarding international firms? What are the difficulties you face?

I have previously worked in New York and have worked for foreign companies for many years, mainly American ones, in cooperation with the Skadden ARPS firm. Therefore, P&A relies on its international network; it enables us to meet the needs of our international clients, primarily on the subject of international mobility. It also has an international dimension given its offices in Tel Aviv.

 

 

What do you want to accomplish achieve in 2017?

P&A has decided to update its website to better develop its communication and marketing policy by using all multimedia tools available, and through social networks.

P&A will continue to expand internationally, especially since for two years, I have been President of the Labor Law Commission of the International Union of Lawyers. 

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