A former chief executive of France Telecom has been question by magistrates over allegations of bullying, in connection with a series of suicides at the company.
Back in 2008 and 2009 Didier Lombard was head of the telecommunications giant when it was engulfed in controversy linked to the suicides of more than 30 employees. It is alleged his tough management practices amounted to psychological harassment.
Ahead of the legal proceedings, Lombard wrote in Le Monde that he strongly rejected the idea “commercial plans vital to the survival of the company might have been the cause of human tragedies”.
But trade unions disagree and blame Lombard and other former senior executives.
“They are not accused yet, we want them to be, but the names begin to emerge, names of bosses who for us were behind and even directly responsible for setting up the system of institutional harassment that led people to suicide,”
said spokesman for SUD trade union Patrick Ackerman.
Unions claim harsh practices such as forced moves and impossible performance targets were partly to blame. France Telecom have defended themselves describing the suicide rate as no higher than in the general population.