More than a decade after the events that resulted in 19 France Télécom (the named Orange) employees taking their own lives three senior managers have received jail terms for their actions. The company went through a massive re-structuring in 2007, with the then Chief Executive, Dider Lombard, aiming to cut 22,000 jobs from the organisation. Whilst still denying that his actions had anything to do with the deaths that results, Lombard is alleged to have told senior manager in 2007 that (with regard to the employees) “I’ll get them out one way or another, through the window or through the door,”. This was a particularly poor choice of words, as one employee did commit suicide by throwing herself out of a window.
As I wrote in the Dying to Work section one employees. Mr Jean-Paul Rouannet, was reported as writing in the note that he left for his family:
“Everything the employee (at France Telecom) does is counted: when he or she goes to the toilet; when he eats; when he smokes a cigarette. The workers are even made to wear Wi-Fi ear and mouth pieces so they can deal with calls during their breaks,”.
That some, scant, late, justice has been achieved is a small victory, I suppose. The extent to which it modifies the behaviours of managers in other toxic workplaces remains to be seen….