Right to form professional associations


The federal constitution protects the right to form professional associations for everyone. Every employee has the right to join a union or not to defend his or her rights. This is a constitutional right that the employer must respect.

Job interview

The employer must protect the personality of his employees, starting with the job interview. In principle, he cannot ask questions about the private sphere of the candidate, unless they are directly related to the job. A question about the employee's union affiliation is sensitive and will often be unlawful.


When an employer discovers that an employee is a union member, it sometimes raises concerns that the employee may make demands, push co-workers to join a union or lead them on strike. However, termination for this reason is very risky. The employer may have to pay several months' compensation.


Employees may, under very specific conditions, stop working to participate in a strike. To be legal, the strike must meet several restrictive conditions. The strike must be supported by an organization that has the capacity to enter into a collective employment contract, which in most cases is a union.

A strike can have many financial consequences for the company. The employer may be tempted to dismiss employees in retaliation or to end the strike. Whether or not such a termination is wrongful depends on the lawfulness of the strike.

Union Access

The right to form professional associations also allows unions to contact company employees to convince them to join their movement.

However, this does not mean that unions can freely enter the company for this purpose. Their right of access is limited. The employer may take protective measures if a union oversteps its rights.  

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1 Mar, 2010 byMarianne Favre Moreillon