petite anglaise

February 19, 2007


Filed under: working girl — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:00 am

I am going to the prud’hommes (French industrial tribunal thingy) today to contest my dismissal. This is rather unexpected, but my lawyer informed me late on Friday evening that contrary to everything we had been led to believe, my ex-employer’s lawyers had changed their minds about asking for the hearing to be deferred to a later date (and had forgotten to let us know).

Given that I’d been told precisely the opposite a matter of days earlier, it’s somewhat miraculous that I’m back from the UK, have childcare for the day and can attend at all. I suppose, to look on the bright side, at least I haven’t spent the last week feeling apprehensive, which might have put a dampener on my trip to England with Tadpole.

More later…

Update: lawyer obtained a deferral and the case now will be heard on 21 March, which should give me time to actually read the substance of the arguments being made against me and make sure all the facts are straight.


  1. The very best of luck!

    Comment by Alexander — February 19, 2007 @ 11:16 am

  2. Blech. What a nice welcome home gift. Best of luck :)

    Comment by sognatrice — February 19, 2007 @ 11:22 am

  3. Oh, good luck, scary thing, legal stuff when they always try and wrong foot you.

    Comment by belle — February 19, 2007 @ 11:23 am

  4. Bon Courage! Ne lache rien!

    Comment by TH — February 19, 2007 @ 11:24 am

  5. I put this date in my Palm diary. Good luck with your case. I wonder if they know how famous you are now…

    Comment by PeterG — February 19, 2007 @ 11:24 am

  6. Bonne chance Petite! Why do nasty things always happen on Monday mornings?!

    Comment by Sister Louise — February 19, 2007 @ 11:40 am

  7. Fingers crossed. Hope all goes well.
    Glad you were able to get organised in time.

    Comment by sablonneuse — February 19, 2007 @ 11:56 am

  8. Bonne chance, Petite!

    Comment by Sparkle — February 19, 2007 @ 11:56 am

  9. Ooh totally fingers crossed.

    Comment by deeleea — February 19, 2007 @ 12:28 pm

  10. Hi Petite,

    good luck, and all the best.

    Let us know about the outcome, please – you know, we are inquisitive.


    Comment by adventurer — February 19, 2007 @ 12:32 pm

  11. Good Luck Petite. Knock them dead!

    Comment by teeweewonders — February 19, 2007 @ 12:34 pm

  12. good luck – hope it goes well for you. breath deeply.

    Comment by mad muthas — February 19, 2007 @ 1:07 pm

  13. The very best of luck – sock it to ’em!

    Comment by Michelle — February 19, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

  14. You’re right the agony of anticipation would have been much worse. Better to get it done and over with. Bonne chance!

    Comment by Sam — February 19, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

  15. Illegitimis non carborundum!

    Comment by malcolm thomson — February 19, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

  16. well, there you go, the fates have been with you this far (you being back etc.), they’ll be with you at the hearing too…

    good luck!

    Comment by mainja — February 19, 2007 @ 1:16 pm

  17. All my very Best Wishes for your sucess. You really deserve it.

    Comment by Stute — February 19, 2007 @ 1:18 pm

  18. The very best of luck, I’m confident it will all go well.

    Comment by Mr Angry — February 19, 2007 @ 1:32 pm

  19. Ooh, may I just add my very best wishes that it goes in you favour as well.

    Comment by Lisa — February 19, 2007 @ 1:49 pm

  20. That’s quite a stunt. I hope you get through okay. Clearly it was a matter of backfooting you and avoiding the press.

    I hate it too, we seem to be targets as single Mums. Absurd, but I’m starting to believe there’s something in that. I’ve always been fine, so, so will you be x

    Comment by fjl — February 19, 2007 @ 1:52 pm

  21. Sending positive thoughts — you are going to do just fine!

    Comment by Laurie — February 19, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

  22. Sounds like a typical sneaky trick to wrong foot you! Didn’t work though.

    Best of luck with it.


    Comment by K — February 19, 2007 @ 2:36 pm

  23. Glad your lawyer got a delay for you. It would have been unfair to have to go through it when you weren’t totally prepared. Now you have a few more weeks to worry but I think it will be worthwhile in the end.
    Keep smiling.

    Comment by sablonneuse — February 19, 2007 @ 2:44 pm

  24. Stick to your guns, hold your head up high and all will go swimmingly. Go make some more headlines, that’ll teach ’em! Bonne chance et ne t’inquiètes pas trop.

    Comment by Ariel — February 19, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

  25. Stand straight, look them in the eye, and let them know what you think…..Don’t cower to them……

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — February 19, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

  26. The Yorkshire Post gave you a nice write-up and photograph….

    Comment by Voyager — February 19, 2007 @ 5:31 pm

  27. Good luck and remember – you are making history! The world will wait with baited breath for the results.

    Comment by Karen — February 19, 2007 @ 5:39 pm

  28. Voyager in post #26 would be referring this –
    If you get to meet Kate Winslet, invite me along ;)

    Comment by Hywel Mallett — February 19, 2007 @ 6:16 pm

  29. Good Luck Petite. Try not to worry.. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

    Comment by Catkin — February 19, 2007 @ 6:22 pm

  30. Jeepers! Nothing ever runs smoothly for you Petite!!!

    Comment by Girl About-Town — February 19, 2007 @ 6:42 pm

  31. Petite got a black and white photograph in the hard copy ….on Page 3 (very true !)

    Forget Kate Winslet and go for Hugh Grant now Jemima is free for me.

    Comment by Voyager — February 19, 2007 @ 6:45 pm

  32. Typical, Good luck for 21st March.

    Comment by Robert — February 19, 2007 @ 7:34 pm

  33. Petite,

    As ever you’ll be in my thoughts on the day.

    I believe you’ve been treated shamefully and hope that the ruling (when it comes) underlines this point.

    Best wishes and good vibes,


    Comment by TryingTimes — February 19, 2007 @ 7:50 pm

  34. Sounds like typical corporate lawyer trickery to me. Oh, gee, we “forgot” to give her any notice whatsoever. Glad your lawyer was on the ball at least. Good luck and keep us posted!

    Comment by The Bold Soul — February 19, 2007 @ 7:51 pm

  35. Long time lurker/reader posting to say good luck for the 21st March.

    Comment by Amy — February 19, 2007 @ 8:12 pm

  36. You’re right, better not to have known, that way you enjoyed your holiday. I thought the Yorkshire Post article was interesting, particularly the avoiding “chick lit” issue. I’m sure that won’t be problem. The down-to-earth (Yorkshire!) side to your writing is what makes it so refreshing. I don’t agree on Kate Winslet though, I’m thinking Renée Zellwegger ??

    Comment by Kate — February 19, 2007 @ 9:55 pm

  37. I hasten to add that in the interview I said I hated labels like chick lit in general. I’ve read some very good books which have been labelled as such, and some not so good and I think it’s a very unhelpful label, in general.

    And I know that quite a few men read this blog, despite its pink appearance, but would they buy a book with a pink sparkly cover? I’m not so sure.

    Comment by petite — February 19, 2007 @ 10:36 pm

  38. “but would they buy a book with a pink sparkly cover? I’m not so sure.”

    Your uncertainty is frightening….meet some real men and be certain, they would not !

    Comment by Voyager — February 19, 2007 @ 10:51 pm

  39. I’ll certainly buy the book, whatever the colour of the cover.

    Comment by Pierre L — February 19, 2007 @ 11:02 pm

  40. I wouldn’t be seen dead in a pink shirt yet “she who must be obeyed” likes them, so what does a poor chap do?

    You are right I enjoyed your stories, they remind me of our four when they were little on trips to France in cars and ferries, and taxies and aeroplanes and and..

    I would hope that she might enjoy your book as a Christmas present, how often does one buy a book for a loved one because you want it yourself. This time I can safely say I will not feel guilty because she will love it too. A chap can get away with buying pink as a present I think!

    Comment by Robert — February 19, 2007 @ 11:57 pm

  41. Although it will be interesting to see the outcome of your case (since it’s setting a precedent), I suspect ultimately the decision won’t affect you either way. You’ve moved on to bigger and better things and deservedly so, in my opinion.

    Comment by Marcos — February 20, 2007 @ 12:29 am

  42. If it’s at all like other legal actions, the outcome turns on technical matters anyway, so one hopes that your ex-employers got something procedural badly wrong. If they did, I suppose they will likely throw as much garbage at you as they can and then try to strike a tawdry last-minute deal while admitting nothing. Maybe it’s different over there. But what an education! You could write a boo…oh, you are.

    Comment by andrew — February 20, 2007 @ 1:54 am

  43. If the “arguements” are available in English please post. The more people that get to see them the better your chance for the perfect counter to this hypocrasy!

    Comment by Phaedrus — February 20, 2007 @ 2:55 am

  44. Go get ’em!!!!!!

    Hope they have to pay you a bundle in settlement of the ridiculousness of your being fired. It’s icing on the cake for this to come at a time when you are doing well without them.

    Good luck & god bless. You have a lot of people rooting for you!

    Comment by linda from jersey (that's new jersey USA) — February 20, 2007 @ 3:56 am

  45. Petite, I will have you in my prayers. You are such a good person, I know everything will be fine.

    Comment by WONDER WOMAN — February 20, 2007 @ 5:08 am

  46. Bonne chance, Petite!

    Comment by Sophie — February 20, 2007 @ 5:36 am

  47. Sounds like your ex-employer’s lawyers may have been trying to catch you with your pants down. They probably read your blog and thought you were still in England.

    Comment by AussieGil — February 20, 2007 @ 6:45 am

  48. You go girl, the righteous shall win in the end!

    Seriously, good luck with it all, I hope you get a satisfactory solution and that justice does prevail.

    If your readers opinions counted for anything it would be a very short trial with you coming out victorious.

    Comment by Qld Deb — February 20, 2007 @ 7:56 am

  49. Am praying for u

    Comment by becky — February 20, 2007 @ 8:31 am

  50. Aah… glad you got a deferral.

    Will be an interesting precedent for blogging law.

    *is lawyer, and boring*


    Comment by Billygean — February 20, 2007 @ 9:01 am

  51. “the outcome turns on technical matters”

    Hardly…the judge makes his opinion known and then fishes for justifications for his prejudices

    Comment by Voyager — February 20, 2007 @ 9:25 am

  52. March the 21st then. The vernal equinox I think. Winter turns to summer.
    The sun goes north of Garvie’s leap.
    A good day to take arms.

    Comment by meredic — February 20, 2007 @ 9:53 am

  53. Petite,

    You’re the subject of an article on p5 of the Independent (20th Feb)as well as in the Yorkshire Post and the colour pic in the Indy will hopefully meet with your approval ;o)

    Bonne chance with the Prud’s next month…

    Nick C

    PS. I’ll buy your book whatever the colour of the cover – it’s what’s inside that counts!

    Comment by Nick C — February 20, 2007 @ 9:54 am

  54. Sending you good vibes as the time draws near… But I’m sure you’ll do just fine! You are well-organized and have been handling things just swimmingly up ’til now, so things are just getting better and better.

    All the best to you!

    Comment by Alice — February 20, 2007 @ 9:57 am

  55. Glad you’ve been given enough of a reprieve to get your act together.

    Have followed your story since I first read about you in the paper and think you are very courageous. I hope that they don’t grind you down and you show them all up to be the pettyfogging individuals they are.


    Comment by Jane Henry — February 20, 2007 @ 9:59 am

  56. Not letting you know about a postponement? Way not cool

    What would happen if you had if you had a bunch of bloggers show up to the hearing? There’s a case going on in NYC of a gay associate suing a law firm. Above the Law showed up and covered a hearing.

    Comment by Viviane — February 20, 2007 @ 10:05 am

  57. To Malcolm, Post 15 – I think it’s “Illegitimus non tatum carborundum”…. but I wholeheartedly agree! Go get’em Petite. Beat the cr*p out of them in a verbal way!!!! @–}–}–

    Comment by JNH — February 20, 2007 @ 10:41 am

  58. Je ne serais pas surprise que le tribunal soit indisposé par la tactique utilisée contre vous, et que cela tourne à votre avantage. Et je pense que vous saurez bien vous préparer. Vos amis lecteurs sont avec vous…

    Comment by Choubine — February 20, 2007 @ 11:15 am

  59. Congrats! Had no idea about any of this until reading Independent – life must be quite interesting being a typist. All the best!

    Comment by James Tulloch — February 20, 2007 @ 11:26 am

  60. Bonne Chance Petite, I am looking forward to the book. Are you publishing in Ireland?

    Comment by Susie — February 20, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

  61. Petite: glad your lawyer got the deferral ! However no matter what the opposite party tells you, you really should be ready on d-day. Lawyers can argue the silliest things and play the dirtiest tricks to defend their client, they consider it as being part of their job.

    Andrew(42) and Voyager(51) are both right. I recently had to fight a radar ticket in california. I pointed out to the judge that california law requires that the officer presents proof of a survey justifying the speed limit when they issue radar based citations. The judge did not care and found me guilty anyway. So I appealed and won on a technicality (the prosecution only showed me their evidence a few minutes before trial even though I had asked for it 3 weeks in advance). I think the court chose to avoid ruling on the other issue because it could have been potentially more embarrassing to them :) Courts can be unpredictable in that way…

    Comment by walken — February 20, 2007 @ 12:44 pm

  62. “life must be quite interesting being a typist.”

    back in the olden days with typewriters and sealing wax….do get into the modern age James…frock coats and whiskers are no longer “in”

    Comment by Voyager — February 20, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

  63. I wish you the best of luck and tons of courage in this ordeal.

    Comment by Lost in France — February 20, 2007 @ 2:32 pm

  64. Petite:
    “but would they buy a book with a pink sparkly cover? I’m not so sure.”

    “Your uncertainty is frightening….meet some real men and be certain, they would not !”

    Your certainty is frightening. I would, have and do.

    I stopped judging books by their cover decades ago.

    It’s a good metaphor which could do with wider circulation.

    And am definately a real man – just for your info.


    Comment by TryingTimes — February 20, 2007 @ 2:37 pm

  65. yikes!

    that brings the tally of ex boyfriends who have got in touch via my blog to 3

    Comment by petite — February 20, 2007 @ 2:55 pm

  66. re : ex-boyfriend tally
    Cue next post

    Comment by Flighty — February 20, 2007 @ 3:45 pm

  67. We have learned the hard way – if you don’t show up the other side wins. The fact that the other side told you the wrong date is not their fault.
    Thank your lawyer for being on his toes!

    Comment by (a different) Alice — February 20, 2007 @ 3:52 pm

  68. God! Anonimity required eh! Didn’t think I’d count. Just had to though after seeing you in print!


    Comment by JT — February 20, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

  69. this is a charming blog. I’ve recently started one very much like it (and I would fall over dead if it ever attracted as many readers as you have :) Your words are sweet and dear, but very honest and fresh as well. Brilliant.

    Comment by EmilyAnne — February 20, 2007 @ 7:31 pm

  70. I would not like to be in your previous company’s HR or PR departments at the moment. Imagine trying to recruit anybody currently or having to put the corporate spin on you having been suspendered. And that’s not even mentioning the corporate lawyers. Bonne chance for 21 March.

    Comment by H — February 20, 2007 @ 7:42 pm

  71. Bonne chance – and I hope you were not the ‘girl’ who nearly trod in something unmentionable over at Jonny B’s?

    Comment by Ellie — February 20, 2007 @ 10:52 pm

  72. Not me, no. I was sitting demurely watching Short Tony, Mrs Short Tony and JonnyB playing darts and wondering what on earth the terrible smell was.

    Comment by petite — February 21, 2007 @ 12:23 am

  73. First of all,
    whilst lazily surfing and in the bosses time, yeas they go together, I was somewhat suprprised at the speed of the French Courts.
    Good for you, and your lawyer, you got a delay. Given the basically continental nature of the French Courts, I’m afraid the outcome of things is as predictable as the weather. Still I’m thinking of you.

    On the cover of your book. As a male I can testify that sparkly pink covers are actually bought by men. The colour of the cover being a somewhat inferior quality of the book. More importantly, the number of times a certain three letter word starting with s on the cover, either in the title or in the cover text on the back, is a far better way to sell the book to men. Subsequently giving little or no attention to the three letter word doesn’t matter. Men have this thing woth long words, and complex books. No way you can beat that.
    When do you plan to have it published, and may I enquire if a Dutch translation is in the works. (Yes I’m male, basically lazy, and really hatefull of translations).

    Comment by Jasper — February 21, 2007 @ 11:42 am

  74. Good luck Petite. It’s probably better that you have more time, even if it means that you have to worry a bit about it.

    Comment by Sally Lomax — February 21, 2007 @ 12:09 pm

  75. Wishing you the best of luck. Stay focused on a successful outcome.

    Comment by Cleopantha — February 21, 2007 @ 2:36 pm

  76. Hey, I don’t remember you going out with commenter no. 59, Petite. Presumably that was before I did? Hello James!

    Comment by old school friend — February 21, 2007 @ 3:16 pm

  77. Petite, you had a book recommended in your ‘reading’ section about a year in Paris, or an experience in Paris, and I forgot to write down the title and now can’t find it – help!

    Comment by Charlotte — February 21, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

  78. Well Jasper, now you mention it, yes, at this stage it has been acquired for translation into Dutch, German, Italian, Finnish, American (well, you know what I mean, it will have diapers instead of nappies, no doubt) and, er, Hebrew.

    Not French as yet (go figure?!) but I feel sure that will follow at some point.

    Old School Friend – liar! And yes, of course I did first (albeit briefly). Let it not be said that petite anglaise goes in for sloppy seconds…

    Comment by petite — February 21, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

  79. Good luck for the trial (both sense of the word) and bravo for the book !

    Comment by marie-hélène — February 21, 2007 @ 5:57 pm

  80. Sloppy seconds? Is that some form of creme anglaise?

    Comment by Hywel Mallett — February 21, 2007 @ 7:19 pm

  81. Not lying at all – just rather feeble in the memory department! Sorry.

    Comment by old school friend — February 21, 2007 @ 7:33 pm

  82. Petite, congratulations. Just read the article in the Daily Telegraph..lovely photo!!

    Comment by john.g. — February 21, 2007 @ 7:36 pm

  83. French legal process. Trop marrant. Lawyer forget to inform the adverse party etc. Just play the victim and make sure they know that you loooove france!

    Comment by rocket — February 21, 2007 @ 7:51 pm

  84. Am I the only one who sees “prud’hommes” and immediately sees an image of a lot of po-faced men on the other side of the table, who refuse to laugh at your dirty jokes???

    Comment by Rachel in Perth — February 23, 2007 @ 9:38 am

  85. Oh good I didn’t miss it. Nonetheless I’m sending you warm thoughts whenever this hearing takes place.

    Comment by Danna — February 24, 2007 @ 3:33 am

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