Paris (AFP)

TF1 was condemned by the industrial tribunal to pay nearly 700,000 euros to a former journalist, Bruce Frankel, for "dismissal without real and serious cause, hidden work and discrimination," said his lawyer Me Vincent Toledano on Thursday.

Bruce Frankel worked since 1981 for the chain, in offices in New York, Hong Kong, Jerusalem and Washington. In particular, he was taken hostage with around 40 journalists in 1991 while covering the first Gulf War.

TF1 had terminated its contract in 2017, in a context of reduction of its presence abroad with the closure of several offices, "considering that he was not an employee but recruited locally according to American law, despite 37 years of service in the editorial department, "said his lawyer.

The journalist had seized the industrial tribunal of Boulogne-Billancourt by requesting the recognition of his status as an employee reporter since 1981 and the conviction of his employer for unfair dismissal, concealed work and discrimination, for not having been able to benefit from the advantages reserved to other journalists in the channel.

At the hearing in late October, he claimed more than 1.5 million euros from TF1.

In their judgment of May 14 (delayed by confinement), the judges consider that French law is applicable to his employment contract, reclassified as a permanent contract since 1981.

TF1 is in particular ordered to pay 450,000 euros in compensation for discrimination and non-pecuniary damage, and nearly 250,000 euros in dismissal without real and serious cause.

"The importance of the amount of compensation awarded is commensurate with the tremendous injustice of the treatment reserved for the reporter who will have devoted his entire journalistic career to the first channel, sometimes even at the risk of his life," said his lawyer.

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