In France, all companies have obligations in terms of professional equality. However, these obligations evolve with the number of employees in the company (up to 49, from 50 to 299 or 300 or more employees).
The contract for mixed employment and professional equality between women and men, set up by Decree No. 2011-1830 of 6 December 2011, merges the two existing mechanisms: the contract for professional equality and the contract for mixed employment.
The conditions for implementing this contract are set out in detail in the Circular of 17 February 2012.
Equal treatment between women and men in the workplace implies the respect of several principles by the employer:
- prohibitions of discrimination in recruitment,
- lack of differentiation in compensation and career development,
- obligations towards employee representatives (preparation of a written report and negotiation),
- informing employees and candidates for recruitment and implementing measures to prevent sexual harassment in the company.
Civil and criminal remedies and sanctions are provided in the event of failure to respect gender equality. Companies with at least 50 employees are also subject to a penalty payable by the employer when they are not covered by an agreement or, failing that, by an action plan relating to professional equality.
- It is prohibited to mention, in a job offer, the sex (or family status) of the candidate sought, or to take into account the candidate's membership of either sex as a recruitment criterion. By exception, however, specific jobs may be prohibited for women because of their dangerous nature.
- Similarly, it is prohibited to refuse to hire a person on the basis of sex, family status or pregnancy or on the basis of different selection criteria according to sex, family status or pregnancy.
- However, the prohibitions mentioned above shall not apply where membership of either sex satisfies an essential and determining occupational requirement and provided that the objective is legitimate and the requirement proportionate. Article R. 1142-1 of the Labour Code establishes the list of jobs and professional activities for the exercise of which membership of either sex constitutes the determining condition; this list is periodically reviewed.
No one shall be subjected to sexist conduct, defined as any conduct related to the sex of a person, the purpose or effect of which is to violate the dignity of that person or to create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
- The employer is obliged to ensure equal pay for equal work, or work of equal value, between women and men: this obligation prohibits any wage differentiation based on sex.
- Training, classification, promotion, transfer, leave, disciplinary sanction or dismissal...: no decision taken by employer, collective agreement or clause can take into account the gender of the person.