They will have to wait a few more weeks. The Paris court of appeal was due to render its verdict in the Adecco case on Tuesday, but it finally postponed the deliberation to February 25. For two decades, anti-racist activists and former employees have accused the temp agency of having set up a system of discrimination based on skin color.
The affair came to light in 2001, when the Maison des potes association was alerted by a former Adecco employee (Montparnasse district, in Paris). The latter evokes an organized system of discrimination which would aim to exclude temporary workers of color from certain positions. According to him, black candidates were given a “PR IV” classification, which prevented them from having access to certain missions such as room clerk or head waiter in restaurants. For this type of task, the clients of the temping company preferred to call exclusively on “BBR”, that is to say “blue, white, red” … in other words “white French”.
Samuel Thomas, current president of the Maison des friends and ex-vice-president of SOS Racisme, then lodged a complaint for discrimination. He denounces “The establishment of a racial file which concerned 500 temporary workers of color, and was recognized by the leaders of the agency implicated at the time of the outbreak of the scandal”. “All the alleged facts had been established in the complaint that I had filed seventeen years ago in the name of SOS Racisme, with the testimonies of former employees of Adecco, the file of PR4 temporary workers know i by a bailiff, the report of the labor inspectorate, the confessions recorded in a hidden camera from the management of Adecco, he explains. From the start of the investigation, Adecco even acknowledged in writing to the judge that the racial discrimination claimed by customers was very important in the hotel and catering industry and that the system complained of had indeed been put in place by the Parisian agency ” .
However, the case has seen many legal twists since. In June 2018, after seventeen years of investigation, the Paris Court of Appeal finally indicted the company Adecco for “offenses of racial discrimination” and “racial registration”. On February 25, we will know if the interim company benefits from a dismissal or if its leaders are sent back to correctional. “If we get a trial, we will fight so that the 500 victims are civil parties, assures Samuel Thomas. It would be the biggest “class action” ever seen in France. “ For its part, Adecco has always denied any systematic filing.