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France: Government Must Apply Law Requiring Anonymous Job Applications

(July 30, 2014) The Conseil d’Etat, France’s highest jurisdiction for administrative matters, recently ordered the government to implement a 2006 anti-discrimination law requiring employers of more than 50 employees to anonymize job applications. (CE [Conseit d’Etat], 9 juillet 2014, M.A… et autres, Nos. 345253, 352987, & 373610.)

The Court’s July 9, 2014, decision is mainly based on a provision in a 2006 law that requires companies employing more than 50 workers to rely on anonymized job applications and résumés in order to help prevent discrimination in hiring. (Loi No. 2006-396 du 31 mars 2006 pour l’égalité des chances (1) [Law No. 2006-396 of March 31, 2006, for Equality of Opportunities (1)], art. 24.) After this law was adopted, the executive branch was supposed to issue regulations to ensure its implementation, but it has not yet done so. (Guillaume Guichard, Le gouvernement sommé de mettre en oeuvre le CV anonyme [Government Told to Implement the Anonymous C.V.], LE FIGARO (July 9, 2014).)

The failure of the government to adopt implementing regulations led a law student, a political group, and a civil rights advocacy group to file complaints before the Conseil d’Etat. (Id.) The judges found that the reasonable timeframe within which the government would be expected to implement a law had lapsed, and they ordered the Prime Minister to issue the necessary implementation decrees within six months. (CE, 9 juillet 2014, M.A… et autres, supra.) In response to this decision, the government declared that it was “determined to ensure the best application of the 2006 law against discrimination in hiring,” and that it would convene a working group to study how to promote non-discriminatory recruitment methods. (Guichard, supra.)