Sexual Harassment Is Not An Offence in France


Believe it or not, but Sexual harassment is not an offence in France!

This strange result comes out of the Constitution Council decision. It appears that the offence of sexual harassment was defined in the French criminal code in a certain way which was later amended. The scope was significantly widened. The plaintiff contended that it did not precisely define ‘the constituent elements of the offence, the contested provision violates the principle that offences and punishments be regulated by law as well as the principles of clarity and precision in the law, legal foreseeability and legal certainty.’

This was upheld and the provision was declared unconstitutional.

This means nobody can be convicted of Sexual harassment in France under their criminal law as it stands today. Because the offence does not exist!

Presumably the French criminal code will soon get amended. But if you are working in France there is no problem. The French Employment Law also defines sexual harassment and any offence in employment will be governed by it. Currently it is not affected although there is a fear that it may also be struck down similarly.

The decision was delivered on May 4, 2012. Read the full text of the judgement [English version] here.

Vivek

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