CC wins Paris court battle with associate

Clifford Chance’s Paris office has won its tussle with a junior associate over his status as a trade union representative.

In January, The Lawyer reported that the firm was taking associate Avi Bitton to court. Clifford Chance alleged that Bitton’s appointment by the Confédération Française des Travailleurs Chrétiens (French Federation of Christian Workers (CFTC)) was fraudulent and made solely to protect him from dismissal.

Last week (23 February), a Paris court found in favour of Clifford Chance and judged the appointment invalid.

But Bitton is appealing to the French Supreme Court on two grounds. He alleges that the Clifford Chance employee who filed the firm’s claim did not have written power of attorney to be able to do so. He is also challenging the legal finding that his appointment was fraudulent.

Additionally Bitton says that because the firm did not challenge a second appointment, as union representative to the firm’s personnel committee, he is still protected from dismissal.

Yves Wehrli, managing partner of Clifford Chance in Paris, said that the firm will now consider its position carefully, adding: “We consider this a success.”