French employment law - Prohibiting Air France’s male stewards from a hairstyle (braids) authorized for women = discrimination – CHHUM AVOCATS (Paris, Nantes, Lille)


The French Court of Cassation adopts a more protective solution against discrimination than the Paris Court of Appeal.

In its decision, the Court of Cassation censures the judgment of the Paris Court of Appeal since it is solely based on sex and not on a genuine and determining professional requirement, women having the right to adopt this type of hairstyle, this prohibition applies only to men.

The social chamber affirms that a hairstyle cannot be a criterion for identifying aircrew, unlike a uniform, therefore it cannot justify the difference in treatment between men and women.

The High Court reinforces the principle of equality between men and women by considering that it is not possible to prohibit a hairstyle for men, if it is authorized for women.

In a decision of January 11, 2012 No. 10-28.213 relating to the wearing of earrings by an employee, the Court of Cassation had affirmed with the visa of Article L. 1132-1 of the Labor Code that "no employee shall may be dismissed on the grounds of gender or physical appearance, the Court of Appeal [which] noted that the dismissal had been pronounced on the grounds, stated in the dismissal letter, that "your status in customer service does not did not allow to tolerate the wearing of earrings on the man that you are", from which it resulted that it was due to the physical appearance of the employee in relation to his sex; that having noted that the employer did not justify his decision to require him to remove his earrings by objective elements foreign to any discrimination, she was able to infer that the dismissal rested on a discriminatory ground; that the plea, ineffective in that it is based on Article L. 1121-1 of the Labor Code, which the Court of Appeal did not apply, is unfounded”.

To read all the Article, please click on the link below



Ruling November 23, 2022, n°21-14.060:

CJEU, March 14, 2017, Micropole Univers, C-188/15:

Article L.1132-1 of the labor code:

Articles L.1121-1 of the labor code:

Article L.1134-1 of the labor code:


Frédéric CHHUM avocat et ancien membre du conseil de l’ordre des avocats de Paris (mandat 2019-2021)

CHHUM AVOCATS (Paris, Nantes, Lille)


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