Former Orange CEO jailed over workers’ suicides

French telco Orange has been found guilty of ‘moral harassment’ by a French court, with former CEO Didier Lombard facing a suspended jail sentence.

As the punishment is below two years, and Lombard is not considered a threat to the general public, no time behind bars will actually be served, though the ruling could prompt a significant shake-up for workers rights across the country. Lombard has also been fined €15,000, while Orange has been fined €75,000.

According to Reuters, the courts decided the corporate culture of overworking employees at Orange during the period was a direct contributor to the spate of suicides.

What is worth noting is that while it has been a decade since the accusations were directed towards Orange, the company has undertaken several transformation projects to ensure the same cannot happen again.

Orange has said it will not dispute the ruling from the court and has pointed to several initiatives to correct the toxic world culture which was in place at the time.

Earlier this year, the telco created a Compensation Commission to review individual situations, which resulted in the Evaluation and Compensation Committee which began operating in October. As a preventative measure, Orange has also said it has undertaken a vast social transformation project designed to prevent workplace suffering and psychosocial risks.

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