The Corporate Law Group

French Crazy

French CrazyLabor laws distort labor markets in all kinds of unpredictable ways. And they not infrequently do so in ways that hurt employees. Many night shift workers want to skip breaks and meals and go home early. Sorry. In California that’s illegal. You must take your break, like it or not.

Well, we just saw an item that might be the record in crazy labor laws. Jerome Kerviel was a trader at Societe Generale who went rogue and lost $5.6B. That’s right; a B, not an M. Shades of Nick Leeson! Kerviel was convicted of breach of trust, forgery, and unauthorized use of the bank’s computers, sentenced to five years, and thrown in the Bastille (not really; he actually ended up wearing an ankle bracelet).

Well, as Paul Harvey would say, here is the rest of the story. Kerviel just won more than $500,000 from SocGen. That’s right even though he was convicted of crimes and put in prison, SocGen didn’t have sufficient reason to fire him. That’s French labor law for you. Our recommendation is set up that Euro office in the Netherlands.