“La Société du semblance” by Jean-François Amadieu was published by Odile Jacob (GETTY IMAGES / CSA IMAGES RF)

Jean-François Amadieu is a sociologist, specialist in discrimination, author of The Society of Appearance, at Odile Jacob.

franceinfo: What are the criteria for discrimination in hiring that are expressly prohibited by law?

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Jean-Francois Amadieu : Lhe France has many grounds of discrimination which are listed in the law. There are at least 25. We will just mention the main ones which are origin, sex, age, disability, physical appearance, political and union opinion, place of residence, state. health, religion, marital status, if you are married, if you have children, pregnancy of course, sexual orientation too.

But does the employer also have the right to have criteria that are legitimate?

Yes of course, he can recruit on the basis of diploma, skills, aptitudes, also on age, even if it is very limited, but for example for assisted contracts or for people who are really very close to retirement age.

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After the success of “Weight of appearances”, Jean-François Amadieu explores a new aspect of this imperialism of appearance in our societies. (ODILE JACOB EDITIONS)

What if I think I was dismissed on the basis of one of his prohibited criteria, what are my remedies?

What to do is to go to the Defender of Rights website where you will find all the necessary details. And above all, the Defender of Rights will be able to collect the complaint you have made, and this is very important, because he will be able to instruct, question the employer, and conduct investigations. So it’s going to be an important competition. At the same time, if we want a criminal sanction, we will seize the public prosecutor. You can go to the gendarmerie, the police, to file a complaint.

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What can I get as a remedy?

On the one hand, there is the criminal conviction, it is an offense against the person. These are sentences that have not been pronounced at this level, but which are sentences of several years in prison or fines. In reality, this is a component that by itself will not lead to significant financial compensation. It is through the labor courts that we can obtain compensation. This is especially relevant when you are already an employee since there you can obtain compensation for the damage that has been caused.

There is no statute of limitations, it is an exception in matters of discrimination. If you have been penalized for a very long time in your professional life, you will be able to obtain compensation, which can correspond to large sums.

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