The L ?Oréal Ethics Executive Team Dismisses Employee As a Result of a Pregnancy
• With over fifteen years within the company, she is unfairly dismissed before returning from her maternity leave
• Circumventing the company’s own ethics policies, she is prevented from entering when returning from maternity leave
Alma Elizalde was living the dream of many women in today’s world. With a successful 15 year professional life at one of the most renowned global companies making beauty products for women, she was ready to continue contributing to the company’s growth in Mexico after giving birth to her first child, little Inés.
How wonderful it was going to be to tell Inés that she had dedicated over fifteen years to L´Oréal, one of the companies which claims to be a protector and promoter of women’s rights. This is a company that seeks inclusion, equality, and free of discrimination based on race, religion, or sexual orientation, and that her mother, over years had been part of this great change movement, as the world watched. She was part of the evolution of how beauty was communicated, insisting that inner beauty, intellectual capacity, and strength were always more important and that, in the end, all women were one.
At least that’s what Alma thought.
With these principles, Alma now begins a fight to share her recent experience with L ?Oréal, Mexico, where she was terminated before completing her official maternity leave, and without even granting her the maternity rights as a “female L’Oreal” employee. At the highest management level, a plan was crafted between Jean Noel Divet, Director-General of L’Oréal Mexico, Eduardo Amaya, Director of Human Resources, and Magdalena Zapata, Director of the Active Cosmetic Division in Mexico and Director of Ethics for this subsidiary. Yes, that’s right; L ?Oréal Mexico’s Director of Ethics devised a plan so that one of its most outstanding career executives would be terminated as a result of her pregnancy.
Thus, through a web of lies, coordinated by this executive group, they promised Alma that her job would be waiting for her when she returned from maternity leave, at least that is what Mr. Jean Noel Divet said. Mr. Jean Noel Divet also shared that she would always be welcome, and that the most important thing was family. In addition, her role as a woman, both in society and in the company, were the priorities.
All these lies were later exposed by Alma in an email sent to the highest level L ?Oréal officers (Annex 1), among them being Mr. Jean Paul Ago (chairman and CEO), Mr. Nicolas Hieronimus (deputy chief executive officer), Mr. Jean-Claude Legrand (executive vice-president of human relations), and Mr. Emmanuel Lulin (chief ethics officer).
“I want to inspire other women. I want to be part of this great social movement for women’s rights. I want respect. But what I want the most is to be able to look into my little Inés’s eyes and tell her that we can’t let these injustices go on, and we have to start by telling these stories so that they don’t happen anymore,” Alma Elizalde said. “Becoming a mother should no longer not stifle someone’s professional growth; motherhood is paramount in a woman’s life and for those that choose to be mothers, but it is also a complicated and vulnerable time. So it is difficult to comprehend that in this modern society motherhood is still used as a negotiation tool, forcing employees to sign termination agreements that would leave women without a job, economic benefits, social security, medical insurance, transportation costs and other needs, and at the same time experiencing motherhood,” she added. “I call on all women, especially the ambassadors of any L ?Oréal brand, women with whom I share the conviction that the time to respect women’s rights has arrived, that it cannot wait any longer, and it is in cases like this where we must uphold our position that has taken generations to achieve”.
Among the international ambassadors for the various L ?Oréal brands are public figures such as Andie McDowell, Duttie Hot, Amber Heard, Camila Cabello, Isabelle Adjani, Neelam Gill, Maria Borges, Julian Moore, Eva Longoria, Josephine Skriver, Christy Turlington, Emily DiDonato, Adriana Lima, Kemp Muhl, Gigi Hadid, Charlotte Free, Jourdan Dunn, Marloes Horst, and many others, as well as Mexicans Silvia Navarro and Sofia Reyes. These are women who built their careers based on their own personal efforts, work, talent, dedication, loyalty, and honesty, as did Alma as she did every day that she worked for L ?Oréal. I can only imagine, that if, Eva Longoria, who had her baby Santiago at about the same time as Alma, arrived at the Hollywood studios and to be called in by the executives and told that, as a result of her pregnancy, she would no longer be working there. Did anyone within L ?Oréal have the courage to tell her that as a result of her pregnancy, she would no longer be a brand ambassador? Because this is what happened to Alma.
Alma has filed a complaint with the Mexico National Discrimination Prevention Council, CONAPRED (for its acronym in Spanish) (Annex 2), documenting all the facts, and which was filed, as well as a work-related lawsuit before the Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Board of Mexico for unjust termination and discriminatory practices.
For more information contact Alma Elizalde at [email protected]