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France Télécom: Investigation into Suicides Has Been Closed

Translated Friday 9 January 2015, by Gene Zbikowski

In late December, the examining magistrates closed the investigation into the wave of 35 suicides in 2008-2009 among the staff of the then-operator of public law, France Télécom.

In July 2012, France Télécom’s president during the 2008-2009 period, Didier Lombard; his second-in-command, Louis-Pierre Wenes; and the former director of human resources, Olivier Barberot, had been charged with psychological bullying.

Following privatization of the corporation in 2004, France Télécom eliminated 22,000 jobs and changed the job category of some 10,000 workers. The investigation showed that management had recourse to forced changes in job location, voluntary redundancy incentives and special training for executives. According to Jean-Paul Teissonière, a lawyer representing the SUD trade union and several plaintiffs, it was a matter of “organized harassment at the top level of management, structural harassment, a strategy.” “Those who implemented this system must answer before a criminal court,” he stated to the Agence France Presse.

According to the lawyer for Orange (France Télécom’s new name), the corporation disputes the idea of a “policy of destabilizing its employees.” Stéphane Richard replace Didier Lombard at the head of the corporation in March, 2010.

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