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Monday, November 28, 2022

In this four-star hotel, the dismissal of the “valet de chambre” accused of harassment is canceled

The dismissal of this valet accused by his employer of having harassed several people is suspended by administrative justice.
The dismissal of this valet accused by his employer of having harassed several people is suspended by administrative justice. (©Illustration – AdobeStock-skvalval)

The judge in chambers of the administrative court ofOrleans (Loiret) has just vindicated a “valet de chambre” at Castel Maintenon, a four-star hotel-restaurant in Maintenon (Eure-et-Loir).

The court suspended a previous court decision which had paved the way for its “disciplinary” dismissal.

Accused of harassment of three people

His employer had in fact initially suspended the August 1, 2022by another judge in chambers of the same administrative court, the refusal of labor inspection d’Eure-et-Loir to authorize him to separate from this staff representative.

According to the applicant, the magistrate had considered “wrongly”, “on the basis of a minimalist motivation” and in his absence, that his reinstatement was “slikely to cause serious malfunctions within the company.

He was in fact accused by his employer of being guilty of ” harassment about the operations manager of the hotel-restaurant, about an administrative secretary and about another colleague.

The integrity of employees “more threatened” by their employer

There is no risk to the safety of the company’s employees, whose integrity is further threatened by the practices of their employer by delegation, whose behavior should be stigmatized.

Applicant’s lawyer

“The company has instrumentalized certain employees by the threat, in order to create the grievances of which it is accused”, affirms his lawyer to the second judge of the administrative court. “He only encounters difficulties in his professional life since his election to the Social and Economic Committee (CSE) and suffers recurring obstacles in the exercise of its mandate. »

An obligation to “prevent moral harassment”

The operator of Castel Maintenon – the company Image Inn, based in Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône) and which has been the subject of receivership since July 2022 – considered for its part that the deviation of his valet was justified by ” the obligation to prevent moral harassment” that weighs on any employer.

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One of the two complainants was moreover “excluded from the Force Ouvrière (FO) union who supports” the applicant, noted the hotel-restaurant.

He also criticized the labor inspector for having carried out a “very oriented” investigation and to be “in contact” with the FO trade union representative who had drafted the applicant’s letters: he is a former labor inspector.

“No relation” with his union mandate

The Image Inn company for its part reproached its valet for a ” abuse of rights ” in the exercise of his mandate for the sole purpose of ” harm society ” and to do ” misusein its sole interest, of the protection conferred on it by this mandate”.

In any case, his dismissal had “no relation” to his elective or union mandates: only his “moral harassment” and his “insubordination” to the orders of his hierarchy justified the decision.

The company never forbade him to exercise his mandate, only not to walk around the hotel.

Company lawyer

But “by limiting itself to invoking general considerations in connection with the security obligation to which it is bound (…) without specifying the practical consequences and the material constraints with which it would be confronted (…), the company Image Inn does not establish that it is unable to manage (…) the resumption by the person concerned of its service”, considers the second judge in chambers in an order dated October 27, 2022 which has just been made public.

An “adapted work organization”, where contact between the employees concerned would be “avoided”, could for example be put in place, she suggests.

The director of operations accused of “having put pressure” on an employee

But above all “the emergency situation invoked [par la société, ndlr] appears all the less constituted (…) since, from the month of July 2022one of the two employees who filed a complaint against Mr. XXX had left the establishment after having resigned”, notes the magistrate in her order.

The second, “still in office”, is she ” off work » and has « withdrew his complaint“.

On the other hand, she “filed a new one”, and this time “against the operations manager”: she accuses him of having ” pressured her to testify “against the staff representative, takes care to underline the judge in chambers…

“It appears from the information provided by the public prosecutor (…) of Chartres to counsel for the applicant that on the date of October 12, 2022 no procedure had been recorded in the latter’s name”, finally concludes the Orleans magistrate, thus undermining the assertions of the company according to which criminal complaints would be “still under instruction

Image Inn was therefore ordered to pay €1,000 to the applicant for his legal costs. A sum that the State had been ordered to pay him at the end of the previous summary hearing in August 2022.

The legality of the refusal of dismissal opposed by the labor inspectorate of Eure-et-Loir will henceforth be re-examined by the administrative court of Orléans within two years, this time through a collegial formation of three judges.

If this refusal were to be declared illegal, then Castel Maintenon would be entitled to be compensated by the State for the various “damages” it would have suffered following this decision.

LB (PressPepper for Actu Chartres)

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