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Cutting comments for a French hairdresser

Cutting comments for a French hairdresser

A Paris court has held that it was not homophobic for a hair salon boss to call employee a “PD” (a common offensive term for gay men) because many hairdressers are gay.

The incident in question took place in 2014, when a hairdresser in a salon called in sick during his probationary period. His boss accidently sent the employee a text meant for someone else in which she said: “I’m not keeping him. I’ll let him know tomorrow … I don’t have a good feeling about this guy. He’s a ‘PD’.” The next day she sacked him.

The employee went to the French employment tribunal supported by the national citizens’ rights watchdog to complain that he had been sacked as a result of his sexuality. The Tribunal’s decision was that the salon owner had not discriminated against the hairdresser on grounds of his sexual orientation.

The decision stated: “If we put it in the context of the field of hairdressing, the council considers the term ‘PD’ used by the manager can’t be considered a homophobic statement, because it is recognised that hair salons regularly employ homosexual people, namely in women’s salons, without it ever being a problem.

Although there was no discrimination, injurious comments were made and the hairdresser was awarded damages of €5,000.

The decision was called “scandalous” by the French minister of labour and the citizens’ rights watchdog is planning to appeal the ruling.