Frenchwoman sacked for refusing to change her name

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.

Frenchwoman sacked for refusing to change her name
Photo: AFP

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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


French ‘have more sex while working from home’, poll claims

For most people working from home means rarely changing out of PJs and spending a lot of time on zoom calls - but respondents to one French poll said for them it's an opportunity to have more sex.

French 'have more sex while working from home', poll claims
A change from the classic work-from-home outfit of pyjamas. Photo: AFP

A poll conducted by Ifop for extra-marital dating site Gleeden reported one third of respondents (34 percent) saying they had had sex during working hours while on télétravail (home working) and one third of people said they had more desire for their partner since the second lockdown in October.

In total 18 percent of people said they are having more sex now than they did before the pandemic.

“I've got into the habit, since I've been working at home, of taking a little nap in the middle of the day,” web designer Tomas told Le Parsien, “and my girlfriend often joins me”.

“Sometimes we even warm up beforehand with very explicit messages. In the end, it doesn't take us long, we are very relaxed afterwards and just as efficient when we get back behind our screens to work. Frankly, it's better than a cigarette break in the cold outside the office.”
The trend was particularly marked among couples with children, when working hours have become time spent together at home without the children around.
“Unlike in the spring, the children are at school and without our travel time, our days are longer,” said Sophie, a civil servant based in Strasbourg, who works two days a week at home with her husband.
However, some of the participants told pollsters that lockdown and working from home had lead to a drop in morale and libido, while others said being with their partners all day dampened their desire.
The French government still recommends télétravail for those who can, but in January released an updated protocol adding extra days in office for those who wanted them, recognising the impact of loneliness and isolation on many home-workers.
The poll – entitled The sexual and emotional life of the French during the second lockdown – was carried out on 2,017 over-18s between November 24th and 30th.