French Telco Orange And Ex-CEO Found Guilty Over Workers Suicides

Over a decade on from a wave of suicides at telecoms giant Orange, the group and its former CEO have been held accountable.

Orange, then known as France Telecom, and its former chief, Didier Lombard, were found guilty on Friday (December 20) of “moral harassment”.

Prosecutors listed at least 18 suicides and 13 suicide attempts between 2008 and 2010, when the company was restructuring.

According to union records, one employee stabbed himself in the stomach during a staff meeting and one woman threw herself out of a window.

The court sentenced Lombard to a year in jail, with eight months suspended, and a $16,000 fine.

Orange was found guilty of the same charge, and fined 83,000 dollars.

Prosecutors argued that some of the methods used in the restructuring after privatisation triggered the wave of suicides.

The case centred around a drive by the former state monopoly to shed 22,000 jobs and redeploy another 10,000, as it adapted to competition in the private sector.

The deaths led to deep soul-searching over corporate culture in France.

And the landmark verdict is expected to reverberate in boardrooms around the EU, potentially paving the way for similar collective cases.—Yahoo News

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