France: Telecoms giant faces court over spate of employee suicides

Subscribe to our channel! rupt.ly/subscribe Senior executives and the former CEO of France Telecom – now known as Orange – headed to trial in Paris, on Monday, faced with charges of ‘moral harassment’ as part of proceedings investigating a spate…

France: Telecoms giant faces court over spate of employee suicides

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Senior executives and the former CEO of France Telecom – now known as Orange – headed to trial in Paris, on Monday, faced with charges of ‘moral harassment’ as part of proceedings investigating a spate of employee suicides a decade ago.

The case will focus on 19 employees who committed suicide, 12 who attempted suicide and eight others who suffered severe depression or were forced to stop working between 2008-2009, in what then CEO Didier Lombard called a “suicide fad.” Lombard and top management stand accused of creating a climate that used psychological distress to encourage employees to resign.

Civil plaintiff and former employee Beatrice Pannier said she expected a lot from the trial.

“Things have to change. I am 56 years old today, I don’t know if one day I will ever return to work in a company because my life is shattered and my career is destroyed,” she said.

If convicted, the defendants could face one year behind bars and a €15,000 ($US16,800) fine each. Orange could also be hit with a sanction of €75,000 (US$84,030).

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