France Télécom staff suicides trial: a landmark for corporate culture?

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The trial in Paris on charges of moral harassment of the former CEO of France Télécom and six other senior executives of the company, who are accused of causing a wave of staff suicides amid a brutal corporate restructuring plan, ended on Thursday. While the verdicts will only finally be announced in December, the prosecution has demanded that the defendants be handed maximum sentences, which include jail terms of between eight months and one year. Mediapart turned to Rachel Saada, a French lawyer specialised in labour law cases and who notably represented the families of Renault staff who took their lives in a wave of suicides at the carmaking group between 2006-2007, for her analysis of the trial, and its implications for corporate culture in France. 

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The trial of former France Télécom CEO Didier Lombard and six of the company’s top executives on charges of moral harassment – when their brutal programme of cost cutting and job culls was accompanied by a wave of suicides and attempted suicides among staff – drew to a close on Thursday after two-and-a-half months of hearings in a Paris court.