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Disneyland Paris site searched over racism claims

PARIS (Reuters) - A bailiff inspected Disneyland Paris on Wednesday to investigate allegations that recruitment policies discriminated against staff who were not white but found no evidence to support them, a Disneyland spokesman said.

A person dressed as Mickey Mouse waves during a musical parade at Hong Kong Disneyland November 4, 2009. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

The inspection, ordered by a court in Meaux, outside Paris, follows a report by anti-racism campaign group SOS Racisme, accusing Euro Disney of discriminating against people who were not white when recruiting “cast members” for its Disneyland Paris resort.

“We can confirm that on the morning of Wednesday, November 4, a bailiff visited the site of Disneyland Paris to inspect personnel documents and the Disneyland Paris recruitment site,” the Disneyland Paris spokesman said.

“Following these inspections, the bailiff declared that he had found no document or file of an ethnic or racial character,” he said, adding that the resort did not select staff on the basis of their racial or ethnic origin.

In the report issued on Wednesday, SOS Racisme detailed a series of practices which it said discriminated against people of African, Caribbean or Arab origin looking for work at Disneyland Paris.

The company’s policies, according to the group, were based on the assumption that as most of the customers were white Europeans, most of the staff should be of the same origin.

The report also named several other bodies including companies and public housing organizations in a broad attack on what it said was the widespread practice of “ethnic filtering” in selection for jobs and housing.

SOS Racisme also said that on the Disneyland Paris recruitment website, the resort required candidates to choose a nationality from a drop-down menu that included sub-categories of French people.

The menu included several of France’s overseas territories like Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean and La Reunion in the Indian Ocean as if they were separate nationalities.

People from those islands, of whom the majority are black, are full French citizens.

The Disneyland Paris spokesman rejected the charges, saying that the company noted the geographical origin of staff as part of a standard annual report companies drew up on staff issues like living conditions, training, pay and social charges.

“The elements noted in the SOS Racisme report...can be quite easily explained once they are put in context,” he said, adding that staff from overseas territories were identified because they were covered by special travel cost regulations.

France has very strict laws banning the classification of staff by ethnic origin.

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon and James Mackenzie, editing by Tim Pearce