French cosmetics giant L’Oreal accused of racism
Just days after French President Nicholas Sarkozy raised a furore with his statements against the burqa, the country is at the centre of another controversy with cosmetics giant L’Oreal accused of racial discrimination.
The world’s international brand which has Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai and Mexican beauty Eva Longoria among its brand ambassadors was found guilty of following a racial employment policy which excluded black, Arab and Asian women, reported the online edition of Times newspaper.
France’s highest court was told that the group had sought an all-white team of sales staff to promote Fructis Style, a haircare product made by Garnier, L’Oreal’s beauty division.
The company specifically asked for ‘BBR´ recruits. The expression which stands for “bleu, blanc, rouge” -- the colours of the French flag -- is widely recognised in the French recruitment world as a code for white French people born to white French parents excluding the four million or so members of ethnic minorities in France.
La Cour de Cassation, the French Supreme Court said that the policy was illegal under French employment law, upholding a ruling given by the Paris Appeal Court in 2007.
The court had fined both L’Oreal and Adecco -- the recruitment agency -- 30,000 euros each and ordered them to pay anotherfine of 30,000 euros each in damages to SOS Racisme, the anti-racist campaign group, which brought the case.