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France Telecom Suicides Trial: Former Managers Accused of Moral Harassment

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Former chief executive of France Telecom Didier Lombard and six other managers are to stand trial over a spate of suicides among their staff in the late 2000s.

French prosecutors have long claimed they presided over a culture of harassment at the company that led at least 19 employees to kill themselves.

The former managers are accused of “moral harassment”.

Didier Lombard and his fellow defendants deny their tough restructuring measures in 2006 were to blame for the subsequent loss of life.

Image source Wikimedia

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The push for greater efficiency came two years after France Telecom was privatized. Didier Lombard was trying to cut 22,000 jobs and retrain at least 10,000 workers.

“I’ll get them out one way or another, through the window or through the door,” Didier Lombard was quoted as telling senior managers in 2007.

Some of France Telecom were transferred away from their families or left behind when offices were moved, or assigned demeaning jobs.


From 2008 onwards, at least 19 members of staff took their own lives, 12 attempted suicide and eight others suffered from depression and related illnesses.

Didier Lombard has accepted the restructuring upset employees but rejected the idea that it led to people taking their own lives.

France Telecom became Orange in 2013.

An Orange spokesman said in response to news of the trial: “As it has always said, Orange rejects the accusations and will make its case during the public hearing which will be scheduled in the coming months.”

If found guilty, Didier Lombard and the other defendants could face two years in prison and 30,000 euros ($35,000) in fines.