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WORKING IN FRANCE

France bans sexist comments at work

France has tightened up rules around sexist comments and sexual harassment in the workplace as part of a new law on work wellbeing.

France bans sexist comments at work
Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP

All work-related rules in France are governed by the Code du Travail, an enormous doorstop of a document that covers everything from eating a sandwich at your desk to working hours and holiday.

It’s also regularly revised and updated and the latest change comes courtesy of the Loi pour renforcer la prévention en santé au travail (Health and prevention at work reinforcement law) which came into force on March 31st 2022.

The Code du Travail now includes an expanded definition of what constitutes sexual harassment or sexist behaviour in the workplace.

  • Comments and behaviour with a sexist connotation ;
  • Comments and behaviour with sexual or sexist connotations by several people, in a concerted manner or at the instigation of one of them, even though each of these people has not acted repeatedly;
  • Comments or behaviours that happen successively, coming from several people who, even in the absence of concerted action, know that these comments or behaviours characterise a repetition.
  • Contrary to the Penal Code, this new definition does not require an intentional element to constitute sexual harassment. – sexual harassment in the workplace is defined by what is suffered by the employee, not by the intention of the perpetrator or perpetrators.

In order to comply with the law, employers must now update their internal guidance to reflect the changes. It is recommended, by not compulsory, that employers also offer training on what constitutes sexual harassment and ensure that there is a sexual harassment delegate on employee committees.

READ ALSO Workplace romance: The rules on dating colleagues in France

Despite its reputation as the country of l’amour, France has a major problem with sexual harassment – in particular women report being regularly harassed on the streets and on public transport.

Public transport operators have launched numerous initiatives and awareness campaigns in recent years.

In 2018 France made street harassment a criminal offence, with an on-the-spot fine of up to €1,500 for behaviours including catcalling, asking intrusive questions, unwanted following, “upskirting” (taking pictures under a woman’s skirt without her knowing) or even just commenting on a woman’s looks or clothing. 

However, enforcement of the law remains patchy.

READ ALSO Sexual harassment in France – is it truly worse than other countries?

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LIVING IN FRANCE

French schools, renting property and vocabulary: 6 essential articles for life in France

From how to quit your job in France to choosing the best French school for your kids and learning all the vocabulary of France's cost of living crisis - here are six essential articles for life in France.

French schools, renting property and vocabulary: 6 essential articles for life in France

In the last two years, many people across the world have either considered leaving or have left their jobs amid the “Great Resignation” (or La Grande démission, en Français). 

If you have thought about quitting your French job, or perhaps you simply want to understand the procedure for resigning in France, we’ve put together a guide that should answer all of your questions. 

EXPLAINED: What you should know if you want to quit your job in France

Next, the French government is recommending that everyone become familiar with this website, and you’ll really to know how to use it if you will be living in France during the winter of 2022-2023. 

Ecowatt is the government’s ‘energy forecasting’ website. It will provide you with daily updates and give you an idea as to whether the electrical grid is under stress due to energy shortages. The Local put together an article on how to sign up for alerts, which will help you keep track of whether your area is at risk for short, localised power cuts this winter.

‘Ecowatt’: How you should use France’s new energy forecasting website?

Amid potential energy shortages this winter and the cost of living crisis, foreigners living with France have been faced with learning a whole new set of French vocabulary words.

It can be difficult to keep up to date with the French news – even for native-French speakers. To help you follow along and stay informed, The Local has compiled a list of French terms you are likely to hear when the government or media discusses inflation, along with their English translations.

The French words you need to understand France’s cost of living crisis

Parenting in a country you did grow up in comes with unique challenges and joys. One thing anglophone parents tend to wonder about is whether or not they should send their children to international schools (where English might be more widely spoken) or opt for local French schools.

The Local spoke with some anglophone parents, and compared the advantages and disadvantages of the various options in order to help you make the best decision for your family. 

What kind of school in France is best for my kids?

Many foreigners living in France prefer renting to buying. When looking for that perfect home or apartment, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost – renting in France depends largely on where you live. Renting in a rural or suburban environment will differ greatly from renting in a big city. Nevertheless – renters across France are faced with the same question: furnished or unfurnished? 

The two options differ in terms of price, convenience, and sometimes availability. You can read The Local’s guide to renting property in France.

Renting property in France: Should I go for furnished or unfurnished?

The 2024 Olympic Games are already on the horizon, even though they might seem far away. The city of Paris and its surrounding suburbs have already begun extensive preparations to host athletes, their families, and the thousands of fans who will come to enjoy the Games.

If you live in France and you are considering attending the games, The Local has put together what you need to know in order to secure your tickets.

How to get tickets for the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics

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