Saturday, June 27, 2009


Why is the confirmation of L'Oreal's discriminatory hiring practices so important ??

Well for a number of reasons: 1) L'Oreal is the worlds largest cosmetics company; 2) L'Oreal uses well-known minority models and celebrities to market it's products; 3) L'Oreal is an image and branding company; 4) Discrimination suits are very difficult to bring in France; and 5) L'Oreal had help from a major personnel company, Addecco.

L'Oreal is a very large company. It has projected sales revenue of over 24 Billion (USD)(17.5 Billion Euro) for the year 2008. It has 67,000 employees and operates in 130 countries. It has a major presence in Europe and the US.

L'Oreal has used celebraties and models to promote products. L'Oreal uses or has used: Eva Longoria, Beyonce Knowles, Aishwarya Rai, Agbani Darego, Gong Li and Kerry Washington.

L'Oreals core European and North American markets are growing very slowly. It is look to expand to faster growing countries in Asia, Africa and South American, where people have darker skin complexions.

L'Oreal is an image and branding company. But the ultimate image and brand is the company's integrity and reputation. Someone with short sight apparently forgot that concept. So we must ask the logical question, was this an isolated incident or a symptom of a larger pattern. I would like to believe the former, but, L'Oreal has a history of other incidents and ethical lapses.

France has a long history of xenophobia and facial discrimination. Many minorities live in isolated suburban housing tracts. The French constitution does not permit the recognition of minority status. And France's civil and penal code forbids the collection of any data concerning religion, race or country of origin.

So what can you do. Consumers, collectively are in the drivers seat. L'Oreal is very dependent on the "whims" of the market place. Cosmetics are made for pennies, but marketed with millions.
My suggestion is switch to a non-L'Oreal product and brand. It is a good time to try out the competition. If you don't like it, you can switch back.

E-Mail is also a very effective response. Large companies are not equipped to handle a public image crisis. E-mail will let them know you are aware of their hiring discrimination practices. Be sure to list the reason why you are switching. Companies count the e-mails and the tone of the e-mail.

I found it difficult to contact the company regarding anything other than product compliments or complaints. But here is L'Oreal USA's contact information.

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