A new study commissioned by the French government has "named and shamed" seven multinational companies, including hotel giant Accor and vehicle manufacturer Renault, for racial discrimination in employment.
The study found that candidates with Arabic-sounding names received on average 25% fewer responses to job applications than their competitors with French names.
But the seven companies — Air France, Accor, Altran, Arkéma, Renault, Rexel et Sopra Steria — say the methodology was flawed and deny any discriminatory practices in their recruitment.
Junior Minister for Gender Equality Marlene Schiappa discussed the study's findings on French television.
"The government asked researchers to implement a scientific method, proven, reliable, sound, to send unsolicited applications to 40 companies listed in SBF 120 — so the largest French companies," she said.
It was conducted by researchers of the University of Creteil East between October 2018 and January 2018 and based on a sample of 10,349 fictional applications or requests for information.
A key conclusion is that discrimination does not only happen in those seven companies.
"Of all the companies tested, it is estimated that the success rate of the candidate whose name has a northern African consonance is 9.3%, compared to 12.5% for the candidate with a European-sounding name," the study found.
It is also worth noting that the study found one company — Air Liquide — practised reverse discrimination, with more positive responses sent to candidates with North African-sounding names.