France’s national assembly has taken the first steps towards approving a law that would ban discrimination against people with pronounced regional accents across the country.
A new bill banning accent-based discrimination, or ‘la glottophobie’, was approved with 98 votes against three, and spurred a lively debate in the lower house of the French parliament.
If passed, the new law will make linguistic discrimination a criminal offence along with sexism, racism and other forms of outlawed bigotry.
A person found guilty of discrimination on the basis of regional accents could face a maximum of three years in prison and a fine of up to €45,000 (INR 39.8 lakh).
Discrimination against people with strong regional accents was rampant in society, particularly at the workplace, and is a “form of racism”.
According to Ouest-France, a poll conducted in January 2020 showed that around 16 per cent of the French population claim to have been discriminated against during hiring because of their accent.