Three Toulouse Casino supermarkets, which opened on Sunday afternoons without employees but with security guards, were ordered to close. This judgment, which Casino has appealed, will it set a precedent?
Will the Toulouse justice system put a stop to the desire of supermarkets to extend their opening hours at all costs? The trend is national with establishments opening early in the morning, late at night, Sunday afternoon or even 24 hours a day.
In Toulouse, by opening since April 16, 2019 its store in Pont-des-Demoiselles, one of its flagships, from 6 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and on Sunday afternoons, the Casino group thought they had found a way around the obligation of Sunday rest for its employees. In the departments and at the cash desks, at these times, no employee of the sign works. And only security guards from an outside company (authorized by the labor code to work on Sundays) monitor the store where customers are supposed to make do with automatic checkouts.
Seized by the Labor Inspectorate in February 2020, the Toulouse judicial court, in summary proceedings (that is to say urgent), said “stop” in a judgment rendered on July 30. The Casino group has appealed. But in the meantime, it closed on Sunday afternoon the three Toulouse stores targeted: Pont-des-Demoiselles, Minimes and Faubourg-Bonnefoy. The penalty ordered by the court was € 20,000 per opening recorded. Other Casino de Haute-Garonne supermarkets, which were open on Sunday afternoons, however remain open.
Vigils or cashiers
During their checks, the labor inspectors noted the absence of Casino employees on Sunday afternoon. But they saw that the security guards were called upon by customers to assist them, which is not part of their surveillance mission. In this case, the inspectors believe, the security guards cannot claim their exemption from the Sunday rest.
The summary judge did not even ask if the security guards were performing a cashier’s job. For him, their very presence allows the operation of the food retail store. “The professional functions performed by (the guards) therefore go beyond the strict framework of the supervisory functions”, it is written in the judgment. Hence “a violation of the rules relating to Sunday rest.” Casino was therefore ordered to close. And the security company was prohibited from employing its agents in these three stores.
The Toulouse court on the same day issued the same decision against another Toulouse supermarket, Leader Price de Borderouge, which opened on Sunday afternoon under identical conditions.
The CFDT: “No question of letting it happen”
The Casino group, which we contacted, did not wish to comment on the judgment while specifying that it had appealed. The stakes are high for the brand which, in Toulouse as in France, wants to multiply late or Sunday openings. Its Pont-des-Demoiselles supermarket, after opening on Sunday afternoon in June 2019, was therefore open 24 hours a day, four days a week. Two unions joined the labor inspection procedure: CFDT and FO (the safety branch). For Laurent Jeudi, CFDT shops and services departmental secretary, it is “out of the question” to let things be “as long as things are not asked correctly”. The union pleads for “regulation by territory”. And he’s considering action against 24-hour openings.