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L'Oreal found guilty of racial discrimination

Source: ANI
June 25, 2009 15:41 IST
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L'Oreal, the French cosmetics giant, has been found guilty by the highest court in the French judiciary of racial discrimination, for considering women from the minority communities in France unworthy of selling its shampoos.

SOS Racisme, an anti-racist campaign group in France, had filed the case.

France's highest court was told that L'Oreal had sought an all-white sales staff to promote Fructis Style, a haircare product made by its beauty division, the Times reports.

The court was told that a Districom executive had sent a fax to its headquarters in 2000 saying that Garnier's hostesses should be aged 18 to 22, wear size 38 to 42 clothes and be BBR.

The court was told that BBR (Blue, Black, Red) is an expression widely recognised in the French recruitment world as the code for white French people born to white French parents, in effect excluding the ethnic minorities.

Prosecutors said Garnier wanted to exclude members of the minorities on the ground that they would be less likely to sell its shampoos in French shops, and also claimed that only 4.65 per cent of the hostesses hired for Garnier's campaign were black, Asian or Arab.

The court has also found Adecco, the temporary recruitment agency whose Districom division hired the hostesses, guilty of racial discrimination.

The court found that the policy was illegal under French employment law. 

"It's a very great victory. Whatever the size of the company, none is able to escape prosecution," said Samuel Thomas, the vice-chairman of SOS Racisme.

The judgment ends a three-year legal battle over discrimination charges. While L'Oreal expressed disappointment at the judgment, Adecco refused make any comment.

The judgment is a major blow to L'Oreal's image, which spends millions of dollars on advertisements featuring Eva Longoria, Andie MacDowell, Penelope Cruz and Claudia Schiffer.

In India, Aishwarya Rai and Sonam Kapoor endorse L'Oreal products.
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Source: ANI

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