Legal criteria for discrimination

Article 225-1 of the Penal Code - Article l.1132-1 of the Labour Code

sex // age // disability // loss of autonomy // trade union activities // origin // sexual orientation // gender identity // family status // pregnancy status // health status // physical appearance // political opinions // morals // surname // genetic characteristics // place of residence // bank address // ability to express oneself in a language other than French // vulnerability resulting from the perpetrator's apparent or known economic situation // membership or non-membership, real or assumed membership of :- an ethnic group - an alleged race - a nation - a specific religion


Ministry of Culture

Legal summary


Act of sexual penetration of any kind, committed by violence, coercion, threat or surprise (art 222-23 of the Penal Code).

Penalties incurred: 15 years of criminal imprisonment (20 years in case of aggravating circumstances)

Sexual assault

Any sexual assault committed with violence, coercion, threat or surprise on 5 defined areas: buttocks, sex, breasts, mouth, between the thighs (art. 222-22 of the Penal Code).

Penalties incurred: 5 years' imprisonment and a €75,000 fine (10 years' imprisonment and a €150,000 fine in the event of aggravating circumstances)

"He put a hand on her buttocks."

Sexual harassment

Repeated comments or behaviour with a sexual connotation which either undermine the victim's dignity because of their degrading or humiliating nature, or create an intimidating, hostile or offensive situation for the victim (art. 6 ter of Law No. 83-634 of 13 July 1983 / art. L 1153-1 of the Labour Code / art. 222-33 of the Criminal Code).

Penalties incurred: 2 years' imprisonment and a €30,000 fine (3 years' imprisonment and a €45,000 fine in the event of aggravating circumstances).

"You look like a tease."
"Say, you actually like it dirty."
"Shall we spend the evening together and talk about your promotion tomorrow?"

Sexist behaviour

Any conduct related to a person's gender that has the purpose or effect of undermining his or her dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment (art. 6 bis of law nº83-634 of 13 July 1983 / art. L 1142 2 1 of the Labour Code).

Penalties incurred: disciplinary sanctions ranging from a simple warning and reprimand to dismissal.

"You're not very good for a man.
"If you dress in a skirt for the orals, you'll be competing unfairly!
"What do you look like on your period?

The right words to define gender-based violence

A 'paedophile'? No, a 'paedocriminal'. A 'marital drama'? No, a "feminicide". Click on the link below to watch the video of "Brut" where Caroline de Haas of the NousToutes collective explains why it is important to use the right words.

The tea cup video to explain consent