The 41-year old manager, who has not been named in the press, was hired in 2001, and claimed he was refused a promotion in 2005 because of the colour of his skin.
He reportedly learned of his superior’s decision from his colleagues.
On Thursday, the French employment tribunal ruled the man had indeed suffered discrimination, and ordered the bank to pay him damages.
LICRA, the international league against racism and anti-Semitism, supported the manager in the trial.
One of its lawyers, Avi Bitton, says this case is symbolic as many such cases never end up in court.
“Sometimes, high level managers don’t dare to make any claim or to negotiate anything, so when the high level managers are brave enough to bring a claim, there is often an amicable settlement. If not, they go to court,” he explained.
“And in court, to be honest, it’s difficult to prove the discrimination. This case is very emblematic because it shows that there is no economic sector which is immune from a sentencing for discrimination.”
“I think that this case is only implementing usual case law and usual legal rules on discrimination. But, psychologically, it will encourage victims of discrimination, including in big companies, to go to courts and to claim their rights,” he said.
A spokesperson for Natixis says the bank is considering whether to launch an appeal.