France: COVID-19 & Toolkit on Corporate and Managerial Criminal Liability

By Anne-Florence Raducault, Celine Gasser, Benjamin Maubert


The upturn of business activity, following the end of the lockdown and remote work, has raised concerns from companies and managers. What risks do they assume in the event of a COVID-19 contamination of an employee, customer, partner or service provider? The law extending the state of health emergency dated May 11, 2020 has introduced a new disposition in the French Public Health Code specifying companies criminal liability conditions in the event of a contamination. Has this new text radically changed the regime of companies criminal liability? What are the consequences regarding the personal liability of natural persons (CEO, managers, employees) for offences such as endangering others life, homicide or involuntary assault and battery?

Employers are bind by an obligation to ensure safety and health protection to their employees, which is a strengthened obligation of means. Article L.4121-1 of the French Labor Code is clear: "The employer shall take the necessary measures to ensure the safety and protect physical and mental health of workers". The employer must in particular ensure the "adaptation of these measures to consider the changing of circumstances and aim to improve existing situations"

What are these specific measures in a period of post-lockdown economic upturn, how to prevent the criminal risk for employers and managers? 

Anne-Florence Raducault and her team updated with this new concern, the global "toolkit" for the companies’ management and their contracts during the health crisis. You will find here the detailed analysis on companies and managers criminal liability, particularly with regard of the law dated May 11, 2020 and actions to be taken to comply with it.

Last reviewed: 1 July 2020

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