French Activists: 39 Percent of Paris Temp Agencies Agreed to Weed Out Non-White Workers

French activists said more than one-third of temp agencies agreed to conduct a racist search for workers by excluding non-white candidates, the Associated Press reported.

Activists from SOS Racisme, a national association of anti-discrimination groups, called 69 temporary employment agencies in the Paris area posing as employees from a construction firm. The activists said their fake company was looking to hire only "European" workers, implying that it did not want to consider people of color.

The campaign group said that 39 percent of the companies called agreed to "weed out" people based on their race.

The French government said it would summon the companies in question.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Racism France
French activists said more than one-third of temp agencies agreed to conduct a racist search for workers. Above, Paris Saint-Germain fans put up banners in the tribune in support of Pierre-Achille Webo of Istanbul and also against racism before the UEFA Champions League Group H stage match between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir at Parc des Princes on December 9, 2020, in Paris, France. Xavier Laine/Getty Images

"If there's absolutely no trace of this type of exchange, we can do what is necessary," said a woman who answered one of the calls, according to the recordings.

An employee at another agency was recorded saying: "I'm making a note to myself so I can propose the profiles you want."

"But I can't say it will be this color or that community. That's too complicated," she added.

Discrimination on the basis of color, gender, nationality, sexual orientation or religious belief is illegal in France.

SOS Racisme said the 69 offices it called were all affiliates of France's leading temp firms, with billions of euros (dollars) in combined revenues.

It said 55 percent of the branch offices it contacted refused requests to discriminate.

About 6 percent also refused to racially select candidates but suggested that the fictitious firm do so itself, SOS Racisme said.

Although limited in scope to a small number of agencies, the findings highlight what anti-racism campaigners say is a wider problem of discrimination in some French workplaces.

Previous research has shown discrimination against job-seekers from neighborhoods with immigrant populations or with names that aren't traditionally French.

The government's minister for equal rights, Elisabeth Moreno, noted that such actions are illegal and said the companies would be summoned for a meeting.