Wednesday Worklaw Alert: L’Oréal Exposed as Racist, Sexist, and Abusive to Employees

Estée Laundry, a beauty account on Instagram, recently posted a series of stories submitted by former employees of L'Oréal. These employees from L'Oréal locations all across the world shared their negative experiences with the company. One anonymous user wrote, “I worked for L'Oréal for over a decade and witnessed countless examples of misogyny, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, burn out, and toxic bullying.” Several former employees also pointed to the discrepancy between the way L'Oréal prides itself on its commitment to diversity and inclusion, yet routinely mistreats minorities within the company. 

Racial and Gender Discrimination at L'Oréal

Several former employees anonymously shared blatant accounts of racial discrimination. One Instagram user explained how it was a common understanding that if you were assigned to one of the “Black brands,” such as Mizani or Softsheen-Carlson, both of which specialize in hair care products for Black men and women, then L'Oréal was basically “telling you to quit,” as no attention was given to these brands by upper management. Another woman of color who worked as a VP within the company for seven years developed severe depression due to the discrimination she faced as a result of her race and her pregnancies. She was pregnant twice while working for the company, and her position was replaced both times she was on maternity leave. Yet another former employee shared, “I had a manager who gave me, a Black woman, twice as much work as my white colleagues, despite the fact that I was the newest member of the team.” She also added that during the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in the summer of 2020, her boss would become visibly upset if any employees spoke about current racial issues. She recalled her boss saying, “It will all be over soon.” This employee described leaving the company feeling totally broken. 

Other employees provided examples of gender discrimination towards female workers at the company. One anonymous user said that if you reported sexual harassment by an executive, you would be paid off to remain silent. Another user said that women were incentivized to have sexual affairs with management, oftentimes receiving a promotion if they slept with men in higher positions. 

Racism and Sexism in the Beauty Industry 

As one user put it, it seems that “mental abuse, degradation, pettiness, and racism is an open secret” at L'Oréal. Unfortunately, L'Oréal is not the only company in the beauty industry guilty of these offenses. Sephora received backlash in 2019 after singer SZA tweeted about a Sephora employee calling security to make sure she wasn’t stealing. Sephora has also been accused of racially profiling customers in the past. Earlier this year, Sephora unveiled a plan to make sweeping changes to their marketing, merchandising, and employee training in order to combat racial bias within the company. Our firm hopes that this plan leads to meaningful change and that other companies in the beauty industry follow suit. 

Seek Legal Assistance Today 

If you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, seek legal assistance from the Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, located in New York City and Livingston, NJ. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.