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France – Employer fined €50,000 for undeclared temporary work

12 October 2012

The company Azur Technical Services (ATS) was fined €50,000 after disregarding French labour law for not paying appropriate wages to some temporary workers who the firm had hired from abroad.

ATS, which specialises in renovation work and is based in Southern France, was contracted to work at a site in Caen that was formerly occupied by the national department store chain BHV.

The firm had used around 65 temporary workers from abroad, mainly from Poland and Portugal. Through a local subcontractor abroad, the firm had recruited the workers who worked at the site from November 2010 to March 2011.

However, some of the workers did not receive their pay from the company and went on strike in March 2011 over the matter. It was also alleged that the workers had not been given proper employment contracts and that their work went undeclared in France.

Five of the workers then decided to take the case to court, which launched several investigations into the allegations.

This week, the firm was found guilty for disregarding French employment rights. The court said ATS had recruited the workers without paying attention to the Labour Code, a gross misconduct.

The case revealed that the firm had failed to provide necessary documents (attestation de détachement) proving the workers are subject to social insurance contributions. The court said that most workers employed by ATS did not provide such documents and their work went undeclared to French authorities.

The court condemned the firm for making profits by underpaying the temporary workers. The prosecutor said that ATS clearly violated the Labour Code as it did not establish a clear outsourcing contract.

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