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Case Law

Cour d'Appel de Paris; 11ème Chambre [Appeal Court of Paris, 11th Chamber]
17/10/2003
Area Employment & training
Form of Discrimination Direct discrimination
Grounds of discrimination Discrimination on ground of racial or ethnic origin
Topic Discrimination by private parties
legal finding, court decision , Recruitment , Discrimination on ground of racial or ethnic origin , France .
Key facts of the case:

A young man from Senegal had been rejected for recruitment as barman in the famous Parisian cabaret 'Moulin rouge', even though his profile and his professional experience met the employment offer. The young man, with help of the NGO SOS Racisme succeeded in proving that he had been a victim of racial discrimination.

The association 'Moulin rouge' was sentenced to pay a fine of EUR 10,000 and to pay EUR 4,500 to each one of the civil parts, that is the job applicant and SOS Racisme, and EUR 250 to their lawyers. The court also demanded the publication of the sentence in the newspapers 'Le Mond and 'Le Parisien'.

Main reasoning/argumentation:

An investigation by a Labour Inspector showed that the table and bar staff of the 'Moulin rouge' were to 97 per cent 'white' Europeans, whereas 'coloured' staff was numerous in the kitchen. On a taped telephoned conversation, the manager stated that the 'coloured' staff was not hired for table and bar service. The court found that illegal discrimination leading to a racist management of the workforce had been established.

Key issues (concepts, interpretations) clarified by the case:

This case clearly interpreted the concept of discrimination: discrimination is characterised by specific facts and clearly distinguished from racism.
The taped telephone conversation, which could be considered as illicit in other situations, was recognised as a legal proof.

Results and most important consequences, implications of the case:

This case is very important since it recognised employment discrimination as an offence which can be condemned by a Penal Court and not only by a Civil Court. The pronounced sentence is also very notable since it was the first time that a significant compensation was paid to the victim (EUR 4,500; whereas in previous case the compensation was only EUR 150). As a result of this case, more significant compensations are going to be provided to victims of discrimination.