CoronavirusGeneral Fields

General areas: Geneva Motor Show cancellation – what will happen to the salaries of hosts and hostesses hired by agencies and brands?

With the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show due to the Federal Council’s protective measures, the hosts and hostesses had their contracts terminated at the last minute. 

This situation is so unprecedented that there is a real legal uncertainty on the subject.

In this article we explain everything about the compensation of guests and hostesses.

In principle, every worker has the right to a salary. Article 324 of the Code of Obligations stipulates, among other things, that wages must be paid if the employer prevents the work from being carried out. Although this may apply to cases of hosts, other aspects will have to be considered. 

First of all, this question must be answered: were the hosts hired by an agency or by the brands directly? 

  1. A) Agencies

The employment contract will be governed by the Law and the Federal Ordinance on Employment Services and Service Leasing. 

According to the latter, the contract may be terminated within a minimum period of two days. Since these deadlines were met at the time of the cancellation of the car show, a salary will in principle not be due.

It is possible, however, that the agencies may make a gesture towards the employees, who have, among other things, undergone training, purchased travel tickets, generated professional expenses, by offering partial or total compensation. 

This will essentially depend on the content of your contract. Our lawyers will be able to study it in order to help you assert your rights!


  1. B) Brands

If the guests are employed by the brands directly, the contract between them will most often be a fixed-term contract.

The notice periods will be longer. Moreover, once the contract has come into force, it is impossible to terminate it without paying the full salary, because an epidemic is not considered a “valid reason” according to the law… We did mention legal uncertainty, right ?

If this does not apply to your situation, you may be able to rely on the good faith of your employer. Brands with a large budget will be more likely to make a gesture. 

Amag, for example, compensated all the hosts it had planned to employ. The agencies have not yet commented on this…


Agencies also suffer from this force majeure, as they are the ones who will have to compensate their agents. Can they claim compensation from the brands they have worked for?

The parties will generally be bound by the agency contract. According to the Code of Obligations, the agency contract can be terminated at any time. However, if the termination occurs at an inopportune time, thus harming one of the parties, the other party will have to offer compensation (Art. 404 CO). 

The situation we are examining can certainly be described as inopportune. Agencies can therefore use this reason to be compensated for damages due to the cancellation of the car show. 


Many players suffer from the cancellation of the motor show, whether from an economic or legal point of view. Whether you are a brand, an agency or a host, our specialized Lawrence lawyers will help you assert your rights. Many are harmed because of this legal novelty, and that is why we will guide you through all your procedures!

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