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Who can I complain to about discrimination in France?

The state has set up several services that can help people who face abuse

Défen­seur des droits is a free service that supports the rights of individuals involved in disputes over public services Pic: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

Reader question: A French company did not take me on after a work trial period because of prejudice based on my sexuality. Who can I complain to?  G.W.

One good solution is to use the free Défen­seur des droits service, an independent authority put in place by the state to support the rights of individuals involved in disputes over public services, as well as those who consider they have been victims of discrimination (whether based on race, sexuality or gender). 

A public sector body does not have to have been involved in any discrimination: the alleged offender can be a business, a hospital or even an individual.

You can call 3928 to discuss your case with a legal expert, who will give an assessment of whether or not they think discrimination was involved. 

For other options, including web chat, see: antidiscriminations.fr

The service can advise on how to make an official complaint and will usually in the first instance undertake mediation to find a solution with the person or organisation involved. Alternatively, apply online by filling out the form under Saisir le Défenseur des droits at defenseurdesdroits.fr.

If mediation does not work and you wish to take things further, the Défenseur may be able to seek legal penalties against the offender or take them to court.

Another avenue for help relating to discrimination based on orientation is the confidential helpline run by the charity SOS Homophobie at 07 71 80 08 71.

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