Bullying: France Télécom ex-bosses convicted

A former CEO and two other ex-top managers at France Télécom have been sentenced to prison terms for bullying practices in their company. A criminal court in Paris ruled that they were partly responsible for the suicide of 35 employees between 2007 and 2010 for introducing a system that put the employees under excessive pressure. The media see the verdict as a milestone.

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Mediapart (FR) /

Important step against institutional bullying

For Mediapart the verdict marks a huge step in the right direction:

“The court rejected the arguments put forward by the lawyers of France Telecom's former management, who tried to put down cases of bullying to individual weaknesses. We are now entering new legal territory. Yes, such a thing as institutional bullying exists. ... Rarely has the criticism of neo-management as practiced in companies, with its focus on collective and individual violence, been put so well in so few words.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Tormenting employees is not a business model

Le Monde also praises the verdict:

“Never before has an entire management system been held responsible for the psychological stress that it can cause. The ruling against France Télécom in the so-called 'suicide affair' on Friday, December 20, is a turning point in labour and criminal law in that it gives full recognition to the category of institutional harassment. ... Big companies have to survive in the economic war and continually improve their performance. Nevertheless nothing enduring can be built on the basis of the organised suffering of employees, their permanent humiliation and loss of self-worth.”