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Frenchwoman sacked for refusing to change her name

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Frenchwoman sacked for refusing to change her name
Photo: AFP
08:14 CEST+02:00
A young Frenchwoman named Marion has been sacked by her boss because she refused to accept being called by a different first name, suggesting the idea that it's impossible to get fired in France might be a bit overblown.

Marion, a 27-year-old from the south western city of Toulouse, has found out the hard way that when it comes to finding a job, a name can mean everything.

The young woman had just landed a role as a trainee commercial assistant at a small firm in the area after spending three weeks working with the company as a temp.

She found the trainee position at the firm that made medical equipment with the help of France's state job agency Pôle Emploi and it was supposed to lead into a full time role.

But then she was abruptly fired after a dispute with her boss over her first name, local newspaper La Dépêche du Midi reported.

“He wanted me to change my name from Marion to Marie, because clients could confuse with another Marion that worked in the same department,” she told the newspaper.

She was apparently sent an email asking her to find a new alias and was called in for an interview.

She was then given the ultimatum: you either call yourself Marie or you're out.

So not wanting to be called by a name that was not hers, she was forced to leave the company, which has not been named in the reports.

The explanation was even written down on a note explaining the dismissal that was given to the Pôle Emploi.

“Problem of identity within the company. The same two names, that was unwanted by management,” read the report.

The company boss defended his actions.

"Changing names or taking on pseudonyms is a common practice in the commercial sector,” he told La Dépêche.

“We are a small company and the two Marions had already lead to confusion. Clients needed to be able to distinguish between them,” he said.

Marion – the one that had been sacked – refused this explanation.

“Either the boss takes his customers for fools or it's just a pretext because he never wanted to offer me a contract,” she said, adding that the whole point of surnames was to distinguish people with the same first names.

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