No égalité or fraternité in French workplaces

Nov 24 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

In June 1793, almost four years after the storming of the Bastille, the Club des Cordeliers called for householders "to have painted on their house fronts, in large letters, these words: Unity, indivisibility of the Republic, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity or death."

Whittled down to the more memorable "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité", the motto of the French Republic was born.

But as a piece in the International Herald Tribune highlights, there is precious little égalité or fraternité in France's workplaces if you happen to be a Muslim, disabled or aged over 50.

The IHT reports that a French employment agency answered 258 job ads for senior salespeople and managers by sending a total of 1,806 fictitious résumés.

The results revealed a startling degree of discrimination.

Almost 30 percent of white French men and 26 percent of white French women received positive responses. But when the résumés were changed to have Arab-sounding names, the positive response rate dropped to 5 percent.

Also facing strong discrimination were the handicapped, with 2 percent positive responses, and people over 50 years old, with 8 percent. The résumés had photos attached, as is French tradition, and white candidates with an ugly face also had a lower response rate, with 13 percent.

International Herald Tribune | In France, worker bias has a name