The former head of France Telecom, Didier Lombard, was placed under investigation for harassment after there was a slew of suicides at the firm during his tenure. Today it was announced that other executives, including the former head of HR, were being placed under investigation as well.
France Telecom-Orange is the number one Internet provider and number three mobile provider in Europe, with a staff of 100,000 French employees and 170,000 worldwide.
The string of suicides can be traced back to 2005, when the company began experiencing large cuts to budget and workforce. That year, a huge restructuring of France Telecom cut 22,000 jobs and changed the job descriptions of another 10,000.
Between the years of 2008 and 2009, over 30 people committed suicide. Many of those who killed themselves left notes blaming pressure from management. Two more killed themselves last year, including one self-immolation in a parking lot of a France Telecom office. Former CEO Didier Lombard resigned in 2010.
This week, the investigating magistrate Pascal Gand announced that Lombard was under investigation for "moral harassment," the first charge of its kind in France.