L'Oréal racism charge thrown out


A complaint brought by a French anti-racism group against cosmetics company L'Oréal and employment agency Adecco that they recruited women for a 2001 publicity campaign according to their race has been thrown out by the French courts.

In the first effort of its kind involving a major company in France, and against a backdrop of perceived widespread discrimination in the French job market, prosecutors had asked the Civil Court to impose an exemplary fine on Garnier France, a division of L'Oréal, and one of its former managers for allegedly seeking to exclude applicants of Arab, Asian or African background from a supermarket sales promotion.

. . . . But the court threw out the charges, citing a lack of evidence in the complaint brought by the group SOS Racisme.

The complaint was based on a July 2000 fax describing the women that L'Oréal wanted to demonstrate new products in the Fructis Style line. The fax described women 18 to 22 and "BBR," the initials for "bleu, blanc, rouge," or blue, white, red - the colors of the French flag.

Defendants said "BBR" was a code to indicate that the women must have a good command of French.

Herald Tribune | French court dismisses L'Oréal racism charge