France: Dismissal letter Burden of proof of dispatch (Cass. Soc. 5 November 2014, n° 13-18.663)

30 March 2015

Benjamine Fiedler, Alexandra Stocki

Should the employee dispute receipt of the letter of dismissal, the burden of proof rests on the employee.

In the case in question, the employee signed a receipt on 15 May 2010 for a letter sent on 11 May by the employer. He disputed that the envelope had contained the dismissal letter. However, on 31 May 2010, he received a final settlement payment, a certificate of employment and a certificate intended for the unemployment insurance services.

The payslip for May 2010, employment certificate and the unemployment insurance certificate sent to the employee by simple letter on 31 May 2010 indicated a termination date for the employment contract of 15 May 2010. This date corresponds to the date of receipt of the disputed envelope.

In this ruling, the Supreme Court confirmed that the burden of proof rests on the employee who claims not to have received the letter of dismissal. Proof was not brought in this case and the employee’s statement was contradicted by the contract termination documents which were issued to him.

In a ruling dated September 2014, the Court moreover agreed that proof of notification of the dismissal may be made by testimony (Cass. Soc. 29 September 2014).