Former France Télécom execs jailed

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The former boss of France Télécom and two former executives have been jailed over a restructuring policy linked to suicides among employees in the 2000s.

Didier Lombard was jailed for a year, as were Louis-Pierre Wenès and Olivier Barberot, although eight months were suspended. The company, now Orange, was fined €75,000.

The court examined 39 cases of employees, 19 of whom had taken their own lives and 12 who had attempted to.The others had lived with depression or had been otherwise unable to work.

It happened during a major restructuring of the company that affected thousands of employees. Four other executives were found guilty of complicity and given four-month suspended sentences and €5,000 fines.

Lombard, the former president and chief executive officer; Wenès, his deputy; and Barberot, the former director of human resources, were also given fines, of €15,000.

Lombard’s lawyer, Jean Veil, said his client would appeal against the conviction.

It is the first time that a French court has recognised “institutional harassment”.

At the time, the newly privatised company was in the throes of a major reorganisation. Lombard was trying to cut 22,000 jobs and retrain at least 10,000 workers.


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