Quarter of French workers complain of discrimination

14th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Workers in the French private sector say they have been victims of discrimination because of their age, race or political views.

PARIS – More than a quarter of workers in the French private sector say they have been victims of discrimination because of their race, age or political views, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The CSA poll carried out in March found that 28 percent of private sector workers had suffered prejudice at their job compared with 22 percent in the public sector.

The survey was conducted for the International Labour Organisation and the French anti-racism agency, which released its annual report to President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Ethnic origin was cited as the number one reason for discrimination by those polled in the private sector, followed closely by age and political or union activism.

For public sector employees however, age was cited by 38 percent of those polled as the basis for unequal treatment followed by political activism and finally ethnic origin.

In its report, the state authority tasked with battling discrimination, known as the Halde, said it had received 7,788 complaints last year and that half of those dealt with discrimination in the workplace.

That was an increase of 25 percent from the previous year, but Halde president Louis Schweitzer attributed the rise to the agency's stronger profile since its creation in 2005.

Monitoring of discrimination and racism in France took on greater urgency after rioting exploded in late 2005 in suburbs with immigrant populations.

Among the report's recommendations, the government was urged to make negotiations on cases of discrimination mandatory for businesses.

French companies should detail in their annual reports any anti-racism measures they have taken, the Halde said.

Of the complaints received in 2008, 29 percent dealt with ethnic origin, 21 percent for physical disabilities and 7 percent for age.

Legal action was taken in 68 cases to remedy the situation including by a woman who won EUR 200,000 in damages after she was fired for being pregnant.

AFP / Expatica

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