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Saturday, 5 May 2012

Sexual harassment laws scrapped in France

Oh what a cruel and ironic twist.

In a country which seems to have a law - admittedly often virtually inapplicable - governing just about everything and anything - isn't it refreshing to see the Conseil constitutionnel (Constitutional Council) getting rid of one that actually serves a purpose!
screenshot from TF1 news report

Apparently for the "wise men" - well actually there are also two women as well among the 11-strong Council - the law in its current form is "too vague" in its definition of sexual harassment as a "crime".

Their decision, was based, as RFI Internationale reports, on the outcome of an appeal in the case brought against French parliamentarian Gérard Ducray.

He had been fined €5,000 and been given a three-month suspended sentence for sexual harassment in 2011, but argued on appeal that, "The law was too open to interpretation and could lead to convictions for 'acceptable flirting'."

The court’s decision 'not only makes the law invalid, it also means that all cases currently being pursued will be dropped."

That is until a new law - acceptable to the Conseil constitutionnel - can be drafted and passed. Both presidential candidates have - as you would expect from a so-called "modern" democracy promised to introduce a new law.

In the meantime the justice ministry will take a look at "redefining" current cases that will now have to be dropped but to all intents and purposes there now seems to be a legal void in France when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace

But it sure looks like a step back in time as far as women's rights are concerned in the country of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.

As they say here in France - especially the candidates at the end of election campaign rallies, "Vive la République, vive la France!"

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