French telecom giant Orange on trial over staff suicides

May 06, 2019 - 2:12 am

PARIS (AP) — French telecom giant Orange and seven former or current managers are going on trial accused of moral harassment over a wave of employee suicides a decade ago.

France's main phone and internet company saw 19 suicides, 12 suicide attempts and eight cases of serious depression among employees from 2007-2010. The company, then called France Telecom, was undergoing job cuts and restructuring.

The Paris trial opening Monday is France's largest such case alleging moral harassment on a company-wide scale. The charge can be punished by a year in prison and a fine of 15,000 euros ($16,790).

Former chairman Didier Lombard is among those accused. Lombard denies wrongdoing and said the incidents were unrelated to each other or to job cuts. His lawyer said Lombard couldn't know the problems of all of France Telecom's vast network of employees.

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