Home > Workplace > France > 1978-05-19 - Court of cassation, Madame Roy, n. 76-41.211

1978-05-19 - Court of cassation, Madame Roy, n. 76-41.211

Workplace · France · Faith-Based Organisation · Private School

The religious identity of a school can justify the dismissal of a divorced and remarried teacher

Key facts of the case - The applicant was a teacher in a Catholic denominational school. She had been dismissed because of her remarrying after divorce. She perceived some damages but was dismissed of her application aiming at proving that this dismissal was invalid and perceiving the related damages. She contends that, on the one hand, this dismissal infringed her freedom to marry and her freedom of religion and, on the other hand, that the school having passed a contract with the State, it could not rely on a religious doctrine to fire her.

Main reasoning of the court - The freedom to marry cannot be infringed but in exceptional cases by the employer. The Catholic view of marriage was at stake here. Although this kind of element usually stands outside the professional relationships, it had become here, on the contrary, a core element of the contract. According to the Court of Cassation, the Court of Appeal rightly deduced that the school authorities, attached to the principle of indissolubility of marriage, had behaved so in order to preserve the good running of the school and its religious identity, and did not commit any fault.
In addition, the school cannot be deprived of its religious identity even if it is a school under contract with the State, pursuant to the Act of the 31 December 1959.

Comment - This case is one of the most ancient illustrations of how faith-based organizations are dealt with by judicial courts. It is uncertain, however, that this solution would be still applicable today.

See the decision: 1978-05-19 - Court of cassation, Madame Roy, n. 76-41.211.