Didier Lombard, former executive director of France Telecom, will be put on trial for moral harbadment, a decade after a wave of employee suicides coincided with the restructuring he led.
The previous monopoly, now known as Orange SA, and six of its executives have also been accused of moral harbadment or instigation of moral harbadment, according to a statement from the company's telecommunications workers union, CFE-CGC. The union, citing an indictment, said the case should go to court next year.
An official of the Paris prosecutor's office who could not be identified by name in accordance with the policy confirmed the accusation of Lombard and France Telecom, without providing details on the charges.
Orange denied that its policies destabilize employees. Orange "will explain his position at the public hearing that will be scheduled in the coming months," he said in an email. The current executive director, Stephane Richard, has not been charged, but Brigitte Dumont, who oversees corporate and social responsibility, will be put on trial, the union said.
The legal practice of Jean Veil, Lombard's lawyer, did not immediately respond to an email request for comments after business hours.
More than 30 employees of France Telecom committed suicide between 2008 and 2010 because the reorganization efforts to make the former monopoly more competitive contributed to the psychological problems of the workers, a union said at the time .
France Telecom suspended its restructuring plans in 2009 and Lombard resigned in 2010. In those years, most of its workers had a protective status that made it difficult to fire them, so The company told some employees that they had jobs without sense to force them to leave, and that led some to take their own lives.