A journalist obtains 47,000 euros as severance pay before the Arbitration Commission for Journalists by decision of July 5, 2023.

1) Facts and procedure

Mr X asked:

To set the total dismissal compensation under article L.7112-4 of the labor code at the sum of 50,322.72 euros for his entire length of service as a journalist in the company, to order the company SPORT 101 to pay him this sum as total severance pay, including 8,429.32 euros to be deducted as "common law severance pay" already received instead of the sum of 44,402.40 euros as of the compensation of article L7112-3 of the labor code (first 15 years), i.e. in addition the sum of 5,920.32 euros for the years beyond the first 15, as well as for 3,000 euros in application of article 700 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

He claims that he was hired as a journalist on November 5, 2001 by the company SPORT 101 and ended up as full-time editorial manager at the end of his employment contract.

The termination of the employment contract resulted from his dismissal for economic reasons on September 12, 2017.

The employment contract ended the same day.

Mr.  moved to full-time on July 1, 2005. He obtained the press card on March 31, 2013.

He contacted the industrial tribunal for the first time on October 7, 2016 to obtain the reclassification of his employment contract into a journalist's employment contract subject to the national collective employment agreement for journalists as editor-in-chief, executive status.

He was announced on July 20, 2017 the elimination of his position. He refused the reclassification proposal and subscribed to the CSP Professional Security Contract, on September 9, 2017, the company notified him of dismissal for economic reasons with effect from September 12 after the deadline for joining the CSP.

He seized the industrial tribunal a second time on September 14, 2017 to contest his dismissal. By a final judgment of the Rennes Court of Appeal of June 12, 2020, ruling on the appeals of the two judgments of the industrial tribunals, it was judged that:

On the prescription, he observes that until the decision of the Court of Appeal his status as a journalist and the benefit of the collective agreement were denied to him, making it impossible to refer to the CAJ. The referral to the CAJ took place on July 20, 2020, less than two months after the court of appeal's ruling.

The reference salary to be taken into account is that plus the seniority bonus in accordance with article 44 of the collective agreement for journalists, therefore on the basis of the salary retained by the Court of Appeal plus the seniority bonus. , the salary of 2,960.16 euros gross should be taken into account.

The evaluation of the severance pay for the first 15 years, according to article L.7112-3 of the labor code represents the 15 months of salary of 2,960.13 euros, or 44,402.40 euros. For the years beyond, the Commission Arbitrale des Journalistes has a wide power of evaluation which it will exercise in the absence of faults. This is why he is asking for the total sum of 50,322.72 euros for the 17 years of seniority, thus compensating for the damage resulting from the loss of his job.

SPORT 101 asks:

To note the performance of the action for payment of the dismissal compensation,

To dismiss Mr. X of his requests;


To set the amount of Mr.

To note that his rights have been fully fulfilled, to dismiss his requests,

To order Mr. X to pay SPORT 101 the sum of 3,000 euros pursuant to Article 700 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

The company SPORT 101 explains that it is subject to the collective agreement of technical design offices (Syntech) and has less than 10 employees, it operates a website dedicated to cycling.

Mr. X was hired as an editorial assistant from November 5, 2001 until the termination of the contract by redundancy on September 12, 2017 after he refused a redeployment offer.

The two industrial tribunal proceedings initiated by Mr. X gave rise to a final judgment by the Rennes Court of Appeal on June 12, 2020, which referred Mr. X to the CAJ to set his severance pay.

The company maintains that Mr. X is not a journalist, that the CAJ is not competent.

Mr. X's request is time-barred because he had to apply to the commission within twelve months from the notification of the termination on the date of his dismissal, Mr. X was aware that he was over 15 years of seniority and that he had been dismissed, he had to act immediately within the time limit of article L.1471 of the labor code. He was out of time when he contacted the commission on July 20, 2020.

The reference salary of Mr. X results from the notice indemnity allocated by the Court of Appeal for two months, i.e. 5,200.28 euros representing a monthly reference salary of 2,600.14 euros. SPORT 101 is not a press agency but a commercial company in which the manager interferes with the editorial content. Mr. He did not have a press card for many years.

The financial situation of the company is difficult with a negative result.

The company offers a sum of 8,429.76 euros.

2) Decision of the Arbitration Commission for Journalists of July 5, 2023

In its decision of July 5, 2023, the Arbitration Commission for Journalists:

Sets the total compensation pursuant to Article L.7112-4 of the Labor Code due to Mr. X at 47,362.56 euros gross,

Notes the payment of 8,429.76 euros by the company SPORT 101,

Orders the company SPORT 101 to pay the sum of 38,932.80 euros to Mr. than 2,000 euros in application of article 700 of the code of civil procedure.

States that this decision, exempt from all costs, will be filed with the registry of the Paris judicial court to be executed in accordance with the provisions of article D.7112-3 of the labor code.


It results from the final judgment of the Rennes Court of Appeal of June 12, 2020 that Mr. journalist editor-in-chief.

It was after having obtained recognition of his status as a journalist that Mr. He was unable to contact the CAJ before this decision.

By seizing this less than two months after the judgment recognizing him as such, he acted within the limitation period.

The commission is responsible for the action for payment of dismissal compensation for journalists under article L.7112-4 of the labor code is not prescribed. If the press card facilitates the exercise of the profession, it is not a necessary condition.

The decision of the Arbitration Commission of Journalists (Social Cassation, November 6, 2013 appeals No. 11-22.849, 11-22.850, 11-22.879) is sufficiently reasoned since it sets out the circumstances of the case and it there is no longer any dispute, either on the reason for the termination, or on the seniority of the employee and to determine the amount of compensation allocated based on the journalist's requests, the parties' briefs, age, responsibilities and the situation of the journalist.

According to the collective agreement for journalists recognized as applicable, the basic salary must be increased by the 13th month and the seniority bonus, the Court of Appeal integrated the 13th month into the reference salary of the category without retaining the seniority bonus. seniority. This defined in article 24 of the applicable collective agreement was accurately assessed in Mr.

Under these conditions, the Commission has sufficient elements, drawn in particular from his loyalty to the title, the quality of his work as well as the impact of this cessation of activity on the rest of his professional career outside the status of journalist to set at 47,362.56 euros the amount of compensation due to Mr. article D.7112-3 of the labor code.

The company's offer is not satisfactory.

It is appropriate to apply article 700 of the code of civil procedure for the benefit of Mr. X.

Frédéric CHHUM avocat et ancien membre du conseil de l’ordre des avocats de Paris (mandat 2019-2021)

CHHUM AVOCATS (Paris, Nantes, Lille)

e-mail: chhum@chhum-avocats.com



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