Cass. - CCASS:2023:SO00231

From GDPRhub
Cass. - CCASS:2023:SO00231
Courts logo1.png
Court: Cour de Cassation (France)
Jurisdiction: France
Relevant Law: Article 4 GDPR
Article 5(1)(a) GDPR
Article 5(1)(b) GDPR
Article 5(1)(f) GDPR
Article 5(1)(e) GDPR
Article 6 GDPR
Article 32 GDPR
145 CPC
Published: 08.03.2023
National Case Number/Name: CCASS:2023:SO00231
European Case Law Identifier:
Appeal from:
Appeal to:
Original Language(s): French
Original Source: Légifrance (in French)
Initial Contributor: Jennifer Vidal Ferreira

The French Supreme Civil Court held that when proving a gender salary inequality, the Courts can oblige the controllers to disclose personal data about other employees. This is a proportionate measure to protect gender equality in employment.

English Summary


The complainant was a former employee of the controllers, two companies of the same group. After she was dismissed in February 2019, she filed a complaint at a labour Court, alleging gender inequality regarding her male colleagues which had occupied the same job position earning a higher salary than her.

During the dispute the labour Court obliged the controllers to present the payrolls of 8 male employees which would expose their personal data such as payments, name, surname and the amount earned per year. The controllers appealed this decision with the Supreme Court.

The controllers considered that when ordering the disclosure of these payrolls, the labour Court did not verify the compliance with the GDPR principles. In particular, they stated that it constituted a processing for a purpose that differed from the purpose for which the human resources collected the data concerned and that the Court did not impose security, confidentiality and storage limitation measures. The controllers therefore argued that the Court violated purpose limitation, lawfulness, fairness, transparency, limitation storage, confidentiality and integrity principles in addition to Articles 4, 6 and 32 GDPR.

The companies also said that disclosing the payrolls was not strictly necessary to prove a salary inequality and that there was therefore no proportionality between the violation of the data subjects rights involved and the pursued aim (to prove salary inequality).


The Supreme Court reminded that the right to privacy is not an absolute right. Thus, when it comes in conflict with another fundamental right, it must be considered in relation to his function in society balanced with other fundamental rights, in accordance with the principle of proportionality.

In this case, the Supreme Court considered that the disclosure of information affecting the right to privacy of other employees was essential to the exercise of the right to evidence and proportionate to the aim pursued, i.e. the defence of the employee's legitimate interest in gender equality in employment.

The Court therefore rejected the appeal.


The legitimate interest of the complainant to gender equality in employment referred to in the holding is not to be mistaken with the legitimate interest as a legal basis for the processing of Article 6(1)(f).

Further Resources

Share blogs or news articles here!

English Machine Translation of the Decision

The decision below is a machine translation of the French original. Please refer to the French original for more details.