France to test major companies for ethnic discrimination: Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron stressed that France needed to do more to tackle discrimination, which affects African-origin French people and Muslims in particular.
French President Emmanuel Macron stressed that France needed to do more to tackle discrimination, which affects African-origin French people and Muslims in particular.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PARIS (AFP) - France's biggest companies will be tested in the next three years to see if they discriminate against ethnic minorities as part of government efforts to combat poverty and exclusion, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday (May 22).

Announcing his vision for tackling social problems in crime-hit urban areas, Macron stressed that France needed to do more to tackle discrimination, which affects African-origin French people and Muslims in particular.

He said that workplace discrimination led many workers from immigrant backgrounds to feel excluded, which undercut efforts to encourage hard work at school or university and fed grievances in deprived areas.

"We are going to expand testing to check behaviours and make sure that there is no discrimination in hiring practices," Macron told a group of business people, local lawmakers and associations.

France has already trialled random testing which usually involves sending out identical CVs for job vacancies with different names to compare the response rate.

A study in 2015 by a French academic on behalf of the Montaigne Institute, a think tank, found that a Muslim man was four times less likely to be called for a job interview than a Catholic counterpart.

Macron said that 40 of the companies in the SBF120 stock market index, which groups the country's largest corporations, would be tested in the next year and all of them would be scrutinised in the next three years.

 

He also said that France's vast state sector, which employs more than five million people, would be tested as well in the next three years.