As reported in Le Monde, Libération, The Guardian and the BBC, the Garnier division of cosmetics giant L’Oréal has been found guilty – along with its recruitment partner Adecco and Adecco’s communication subsidiary Districom (now Ajilon) – of racial discrimination in hiring practices after it tried to exclude non-white women from being taken on as hostesses for a campaign of promotional animations in supermarkets for the Fructis Style range.
Few external observers would deny that France has serious issues with racism, the first and not the least being a general lack of recognition by French society that there is even an issue to begin with. Racial discrimination in hiring is practically the norm, as shown earlier this year in a study by the International Labour Office.
But the situation is perhaps changing. The Garnier ruling is the first time in France that such a major company has been successfully prosecuted for racial discrimination in hiring.