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Belgium - Alleged discriminatory Adecco recruitment list published

17 June 2011

Following the announcement yesterday that Adecco Belgium will appeal against the fine imposed by the Court of First Instance of Brussels for racist practices in employment, the Labour Party of Belgium (PTB) has now published what it claims to be the original list of job offers used by Adecco Brussels’ staffing agents in 2001 when the discriminatory practices are alleged to have taken place.

The list has comments such as 'white Belgians only (BBB)', 'no Foreigners', 'no Arabs', 'white Belgian because of frequent contact with the police' and 'no riff-raff' behind client names such as C&A, Godiva, BMW Brussels and, surprisingly, Benetton, which is most famous for its 'United Colours of Benetton' advertising campaign.

According to the PTB all companies in the list were contacted in 2009 by the Centre for Equality of Belgium to be reminded that discriminatory recruitment practices are illegal in the country.

Several employers are now said to have reacted to the publication of the list by denying any knowledge of discrimination in recruitment within their organisation.

Marc Desmet, Head of Adecco Belgium and Luxembourg, is quoted by Belgian daily L'Express, to have commented "I cannot confirm that such a list exists. I have never seen it and I am astonished that it appears on the internet."

While the surprise appearance of this unsubstantiated list from a decade ago is no doubt embarrassing for Adecco, the company is under completely new management and has implemented a number of formal policies to prevent such discrimination in the future.

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