SNCF Loses Class Action Suit For Practicing Racial Discrimination
The French state rail operator, SNCF, faces a huge legal bill after losing a 16 year battle with former employees who claimed that they had suffered racial discrimination. The high court decision includes payouts of between €150,000 and €230,000 to individuals who worked under discriminatory contracts.
SNCF has been ordered to pay €140m compensation to a large number of Moroccan workers a court has found suffered racial discrimination. Moroccan workers did not have the same health and pension rights and retired with lower rates of pensions, despite doing the same work as French staff. Many were forcibly retired at the age of 55.
The class action suit by almost 800 plaintiffs followed policy of employing the North African railwaymen on ‘foreign worker’ contracts, which denied them many of the protections enjoyed by French staff. The decision by the tribunal de grande instance, the French High Court, was welcomed by trade unions.