The former CEO of France Telecom will stand trial over an onslaught of staff suicides in the late 2000s.
Alongside six other managers, Didier Lombard will face prosecutors who claim they presided over a culture of harassment. However, Lombard is expected to deny this, and deny that restructuring led to the deaths.
“Orange and some of its executives are referred to the Criminal Court for having implemented and participated in a social policy deemed to have destabilized employees,” explained a spokesperson for Orange, the FT reports.
“As it has always said, Orange disputes these accusations and will explain its position at the public hearing that will be scheduled in the coming months. In the meantime, it is important to not pre-judge the persons concerned and to ensure strict respect for the presumption of innocence.”
Denying wrongdoing, Lombard wrote in Le Monde, circa 2012: “Like my predecessor and my successor, I am conscious that the disruption the company has experienced could provoke shock and unease.
“But I forcefully reject that plans that were essential to the survival of the company could have been the cause of the human tragedies cited by the complainants.”
Amongst the cases documented of the suicide included a woman who killed herself at work in Paris, a man found dead in his home after a letter was found allegedly blaming the organization and a worker who attempted to kill himself on arrival to work in 2011.
Can you fire an employee for just being annoying?
Half of employees would quit their job because of this